I'm not mad, I'm just grieving, really like a lot

As we round off Mental Health Awareness month I've been thinking about mental health and grief being in the same ball park, but completely different balls.

Grief can feel like very much like madness and there's a fine line between recognising that it generates extremes in emotion, but not problematising those feelings. I did experience extremes, but I didn't consider myself mentally unwell, in fact I thought I was probably quite healthy, though I did feel utterly mad.... It's a fascinating set of changeable contradictions and twists.

I've been thinking more about this in relation to a conference I went to last week, Bereavement Now and Next: what are we learning from the pandemic, which covered both the experiences of grief during Covid as well as how public and charity services have adapted. Too often bereavement services are tacked on and the conference highlighted the need for bereavement care to be considered an integral part of health and social care.

And yet, who'd want to access bereavement support anywhere near a clinical setting? Commissioning the right support in the right place is crucial. So down with chilly community halls, and up with interesting and engaging projects like Baking & Bereavement in Brighton.

The pandemic has meant so much bereavement support is now online, which won't work for all - but with NESTA recently announcing the winners of their Bereavement Services Challenge to improve services for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, I'm excited to see so much innovation in this area.

The Bereavement Room Podcast run by Callsuma Ali is a really good listen. She's doing great stuff with conversations for communities around faith and culture and featuring representative voices from around the UK. Please vote for The Bereavement Room for Listeners’ Choice Award, supported by BBC Sounds

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