Helpline for carers and professionals

Call 0800 2600 400
Operating hours: 10am – 4pm
Monday – Friday

We can help if you are supporting someone who has been bereaved in a way that was sudden or shocking.

People bereaved in sudden or shocking ways often have many needs, including emotional support but help with practical things too. Our helpline gives them a named, qualified, friendly and professional case worker. We can also support you and offer you a case worker too.

We are particularly here to help during the first days, weeks and months of a bereavement (but you can call any time after a death). We help whether the cause of death was an event or an illness, including COVID-19.

Get in touch with your case worker by calling us on the number above.

If you are calling outside our operating hours, talk to our friends at the National Bereavement Partnership between 7am and 10pm on 0800 448 0800 for emotional support.

You can also talk to us by email at

Your experienced case worker is waiting for you

They give you:

  • a confidential listening ear to say how you are feeling, and help you feel safe, supported and connected. Someone to talk to about your feelings, thoughts, and whatever you are going through right now, from day one that you’re supporting a bereaved person, or at any time afterwards.
  • access to compassionate help where the bereaved person lives.  We connect you with people who care and can help. You might want to talk to someone in your community and get help with immediate practical needs such as shopping for a bereaved person. The person you are supporting might need help because they are feeling ill or need help with caring for someone in their family. We find you that help.
  • help with pressing problems. No problem is too big or small for the Sudden team. Whether a bereaved person needs help stopping junk mail arriving, can’t understand a will, or is struggling with lack of income, we are here to help, or find someone who can help them better than us. We get things done for you and for them.

Our call back promise

We stay with you, if you want us to. We offer to call you back on days and at times we agree with you, to check if you have received all the help you need, and whether there is any more help we need to find for you.

After a while

Some people find that, after a while, thanks to support they received in the early weeks, their grief remains but the shock of the bereavement is subsiding. These people often want further help accessing grief support services and help with arising practical problems. If this is true for someone you’re supporting, we can help put them in touch with the right people.

Other people find their shock is not subsiding, and they may benefit from health services. If this is true for someone you’re supporting, we can help put you in touch with those services.

Helping someone else? We are here for you too

If you are caring for someone bereaved in a way that is sudden or shocking, then you are a community hero. We believe in support being community driven. We are here to listen confidentially, answer questions about sudden bereavement, and to help you help even better. We can also help with practical issues and accessing more help in your community.

We work in partnership

We want bereaved people to be helped by the best possible combination of services. We believe in:

  • help from the community, whether it is provided by someone down the street, a local group, a GP surgery or some other source
  • help from professionals, if it is clear their help is necessary; for example specialist health practitioners to assess people’s needs if they are feeling mentally unwell, and specialist lawyers to help with legal issues
  • help from charities that have particular remits, for example, to help
    • people where they live
    • people whose loved ones have died in a particular way, for example a road crash, committed suicide or been murdered, or from a particular kind of rapid illness
    • children or young people, or older people, or other groups in society
    • from a faith or spiritual perspective

We love working with, and accessing all these services, together, to get you the combination of support you need. Our watch word is partnership.

A bit more about us, and our host charity

Sudden is a charity-run service that aims to protect people’s wellbeing when they are bereaved but they did not expect to be, or when they are caring for someone bereaved in this way. This means helping people to cope. This means ensuring people are safe. Your safety and welfare is our primary concern. Sudden is a charity-run service operated within the charity Brake. Brake is established to help victims of road crashes; but Sudden is here to help people bereaved in any unexpected way. Brake is a member of the Helplines Partnership, which accredits helplines. We know how to run helplines. We came second in the national helpline awards 2019 for our helpline for road crash victims. If you have been affected by a death on the road you can call our Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401.