Coronavirus: Tips on coping with fear of losing a loved one

Coronavirus is dominating the news at the moment, and hearing about illness and death in the media can be really scary.

It’s natural to feel like this, but remember that most people that fall ill get better, and this frightening moment in our lives will eventually pass.

There are going to be some specific things that will make you feel worried. We spoke to Clare Bullen at Child Bereavement UK who gave some advice on how to cope with them.

“Hearing about death on the news is really upsetting”

It is a really upsetting time and it is okay to feel this way. Talk about what is happening, this will help you to make sense of what you hear in the news. Also, consider limiting how often you watch the news or read about it on social media and try to focus on other activities that might make you feel more positive.

“I’m scared someone I know will die because of Covid-19”

Feeling scared is a completely normal reaction to everything that is going on. Find someone to talk to about your fears; sometimes just saying them out loud can make you feel a little better. Alternatively, try to write down how you are feeling.

“My relative is unwell and I can’t visit them”

Let them know you are thinking of them. You could call them or send a message, or send them a letter, a card, a drawing or a picture through the post. As well as this, talk to an adult if you are worried.

“My relative is ill, and I’m scared they’re going to die”

Speak to an adult about your worries, and ask them questions that might help you to understand more about your relative’s illness. Remember that most people that get ill do get better.

“My relative has died and I can’t go to the funeral”

Discuss with an adult whether it is possible for the funeral to be recorded or shown online so that you can still feel a part of it, or perhaps watch it at another time. Talk to an adult about other ways you might be able to say goodbye to your relative such as planting something in your garden, painting a stone, writing letters, drawing pictures. Finally, talk to an adult about how friends and family might be able to plan to get together in the future to remember your relative that died.

“My friend’s relative has died, and I don’t know how to help them when I can’t see them”

Give them a call or let them know you are thinking about them through social media. Make your friend a playlist of songs that might make them smile or recommend some movies your friend could watch to make them feel better. Direct your friend to organisations if they feel they need to talk to a professional or if you are worried about them and feel you can’t help.

Watch the short video below to hear some of Clare’s top tips on how to cope during these difficult times:

WATCH: Clare Bullen from Child Bereavement UK talking about fear of death and dying

Acknowledge your feelings

  • It’s not unusual to feel worried about the situation and to be concerned for yourself and people you know.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might find it helpful to limit how often you watch or listen to the the news or read about it on social media.
  • Try to focus on other activities that might make you feel more positive.

Talk about it

  • Find someone to talk to about your fears - sometimes just saying them out loud can make you feel a little better, and less alone with your thoughts.
  • If you’re concerned about someone you know, perhaps an elderly relative or someone who is ill, speak to an adult about your worries and ask them questions that might help you to understand more about their illness.

Look after yourself

  • Make time to do something for yourself that helps you to relax and takes your mind off worrying news and information.
  • Make sure you connect with your friends and family in any way you can that is safe, such as video chat or by phone.
  • Try to create new routines for your day, with regular mealtimes.
  • Try to get plenty of sleep, eat healthily and stay active.

Seek support

  • If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, find a trusted adult to talk to.
  • There are plenty of support organisations you can contact with trained professionals who can talk to you in confidence.
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