A pioneering study into people’s experience of bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched by researchers from the universities of Cardiff and Bristol. The study is calling for participants, particularly those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds following the disproportionate effect COVID-19 has had on ethnic minority groups.
The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will be the first to investigate how bereavement support, during and beyond the pandemic, can meet the needs of those who are currently grieving for loved ones. A key focus of the study is to ensure that equitable bereavement support is provided across the UK. To do this the researchers aim to recruit as many people as possible who have been bereaved since March this year and are from an ethnic minority background.
BAME people are twice as likely to die as white people from COVID-19. Many families have not been able to visit dying loved ones, have had to grieve alone during lockdown and have experienced painful disruptions to funerals and traditional death rites. The study aims to understand how issues like these have complicated the grieving process for people.
Drs Emily Harrop and Ishrat Islam from the Marie Curie Research Centre at Cardiff University, said: “Through this study we hope to understand the needs of the rich and varied ethnic groups within the UK and ultimately we want this to result in better support for people who are grieving.This is why we are asking people who have experienced a bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic to participate if they feel able to.
“We must make sure that people do not continue to experience further inequities when it comes to accessing bereavement services. It is essential that we try to understand the complexities of grieving in this pandemic so we can ensure there is support for the people who need it most.”