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Finley tells how bereavement support helped his anxiety



Finley was just seven years old when his grandad Billy died. It was his first experience of losing someone so close. His parents, Lisa and Darren reached out to St Leonard’s for support and were grateful to get help from their dedicated bereavement support service.

Not many people know that the St Leonard’s Bereavement Support Service is available to any adult from the community, whether connected to the Hospice, or not and there is no charge for this support. Support for the whole family is offered when their relative is being cared for by St Leonard’s and support is available for adults-only from the wider community.

The team is available on 01904 708553 8am- 5pm Monday to Friday for immediate, in the moment support, or to self-refer for ongoing, planned, bereavement support with a dedicated member of the team

Finley explained: “My parents were great in dealing with things, anytime I felt bad, so it was easy to talk to them about how I felt,” he said.

“The staff at St Leonard’s were amazing. They treated me so well and were so kind and welcoming to us. I felt really comfortable coming to talk to the therapist on site and she really made me feel open to talk,” he explained.


Finley attended quite a few sessions and each one helped him gradually come to terms with his loss and how to deal with his feelings.

“Each session was just as good and I took something else away from it every time. The counselling gave me special techniques to help calm my mind and slow it down so I could fully process and forget the worry I had.

“They helped me discover lots of new techniques to disperse the thoughts in my head, such as attaching a colour of sand with one of the memories of a loved one that I had lost – thoughts that had made me sad or anxious. This gave me the ability to process the grief and move on from worrying about more.

“For anyone who is feeling anxious like this or having difficulties after losing someone, I would strongly recommend the support service at St Leonard’s.

“Even as a young boy, they were really able to get through to me and give me the tools to cope with my worries and nerves and made me feel so open and welcome.”

Emma Johnson, Chief Executive at St Leonard’s Hospice in York said: “The death of someone close to you can be an emotionally traumatic experience and there may be intense emotions that are not easy to cope with. Bottling-up difficult feelings can have a detrimental effect upon us both emotionally and physically.

“Whilst many people come through grief with the help of family and friends, for some people, extra support can be helpful.

“It’s really rewarding for everyone working within our bereavement support service to know that we have helped lots of people, like Finley and his family. This makes it all truly worthwhile.”


Jenny Latchford, Family Support Team Lead at St Leonard’s, said: ‘Our Bereavement Team delivered more than 1,000 bereavement support sessions in 2021-2022. We have been alongside many people rebuilding lives. Everyone is different and there are no rules to grief but if you think you might want our support, please get in touch – we are here for you.”

For more information go to our bereavement support page