Bereavement support should be expanded across Scotland to address the health and wellbeing of grieving friends and family, charities have said.
Charities Sue Ryder and Hospice UK said more needs to be done to tackle barriers linked to availability, resources, awareness and stigma around bereavement support.
They are now calling for a right to bereavement support for everyone in Scotland who wants it.
A survey of more than 2,000 Scots affected by the death of a loved one in the past five years found 31 percent felt they needed additional support beyond family and friends to manage their bereavement, but just 6 per cent actually accessed support. A further 12 per cent of people did not know how to access help beyond friends and family, while 8 percent felt uncomfortable asking for support, and 3 per cent could not find the help they needed.
Elinor Jayne, policy and public affairs manager for Sue Ryder in Scotland, said: “The death of someone close can have a lasting impact on those left behind and in some cases can lead to problems with health and wellbeing that have a significant effect on a grieving person’s life.
“This research shows that almost a quarter of bereaved people would like some form of support over and above that they may receive from family and friends, but don’t get it.
“It’s now time for bereavement support to be expanded across Scotland so that everyone who needs support receives it in a way and at a stage that works for them.”
Sue Ryder’s online community has supported over 110,000 people so far this year,
Hospice UK’s member charitable hospices in Scotland provide a wide range of bereavement support to adults and children including one to one counselling in person, peer support, art therapy and walking groups.
Eilidh Macdonald, policy and advocacy manager Scotland at Hospice UK, said: “It’s clear not enough people are accessing support they need to help them through the hardest of times, risking long-term, far-reaching trauma and harm.
With just 6 per cent of bereaved people accessing support, more needs to be done to tackle barriers linked to availability, resources, awareness and stigma. Local and national planning must urgently address the needs of children and adults in our communities going without support when they need it most.”