Grief can take us to the darkest of places – but it’s still not taken seriously enough
Everyone grieves differently. The emotion is more in the news following the shocking death of Euphoria star Angus Cloud, 25, just a few days after attending his father’s funeral. A statement from his family said the actor had “intensely struggled with the loss”.
Writing for The Guardian, Natalie Morris shared her experience after losing her father in August 2020. The day after the funeral, the author of Mixed/Other: Explorations of Multiraciality in Modern Britain received a text from her manager asking when she was coming back to work.
Natalie didn’t say the company was being intentionally callous. Instead, she appreciated the support and empathy her manager had shown throughout her dad’s short illness. But her two weeks of discretionary bereavement leave were up.
She wasn’t ready to go back to work at the time. She described herself as a non-functioning human at that point, who was barely eating, was lethargic during the day and awake all night, and had hours or days when she physically couldn’t stop crying.
Incompetency In Supporting The Bereaved
Natalie said a medical professional would probably treat a person for acute mental illness with these symptoms. But she called grief “different”. Despite the fact that it’s a natural response to loss and a universal human experience, grief is still not taken seriously enough, she said.
The author highlighted “our collective cultural incompetency in supporting the bereaved.” Grief can be much more difficult and even dangerous to navigate for someone without safe home environments, strong interpersonal networks or financial stability, she stressed.
Mental Health UK says people who experience “complicated” or “prolonged” grief are at higher risk of suicidal thoughts. This stark warning comes against a backdrop of increasingly unaffordable or inaccessible mental healthcare provisions.
Nearly one in four patients struggling with mental health issues have to wait over 12 weeks to start treatment on the NHS, research from 2022 found. And going private is not an option for scores of Brits who are already stretched by the cost of living crisis.