Frequently Asked Questions

What is bereavement counselling?

Bereavement counselling is a form of support that focuses on helping you cope with grief and mourning following the loss of a loved one. Bereavement counselling can support you throughout the bereavement process, whether your loss is a recent one or some years have passed.

What is online counselling?

Online counselling is a form of support that's given over the internet via video chat. Using video chat means that you and your counsellor will be able to see each other and have a one-to-one conversation. Having counselling online is a much more flexible way of accessing support as you can attend from the comfort of your own home. 

What technology do I need to be able to use this service?

All you need to be able to use our video counselling service is a computer, laptop, or other device with a webcam.

Can I have counselling over the telephone?

No, this service offers online counselling using video chat. Our team of counsellors have either completed or are working towards completing specialist training in providing counselling through video chat. This training has been accredited by the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online.

What happens at my assessment?

Your assessment is an important step before you begin counselling sessions as it enables us to identify the best type of support for you. During your assessment your counsellor will ask for your details (including your GP details and your next of kin), and further information about your current situation. The counsellor will also run through our Terms of Service and answer any questions you might have. At the end of the assessment you and your counsellor will agree the next step.

What will happen after my assessment?

If you and your counsellor agree that our bereavement service is best placed to support you then you will receive an email with instructions for booking the first of your six sessions. We recommend that you book sessions weekly.

Why do you need my GP details?

We collect your GP details in the interest of your own safety. We may need to liaise with your GP about the care we’re providing and, in very rare circumstances, we may need to contact them if we feel there is a safeguarding issue.

We will not contact your GP without your prior permission, except in a situation where we feel there is a danger that you may harm yourself or others. Please see our Terms of Service for more information.

Why do I only get six sessions?

Our bereavement service provides short-term support. If you feel that you need further support when you reach the end of your sessions with us, your counsellor will be able to discuss other options with you.

Is this service free?

Yes, this service is free to access by anyone who is grieving for a loved one and is funded entirely by donations.

If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of maintaining and delivering this service you can do so using this dedicated donation form.

How confidential is this service?

This is a confidential service. Members of the team abide by the data protection guidelines laid out in the Terms of Service and Sue Ryder’s Privacy Policy.

If you’d like to find out more the steps you can take to protect yourself online, visit Get Safe Online

If you are concerned about confidentiality or have any questions please email

Will my counsellor be able to read my posts in the community?

No. Although your counsellor can access the community, they will not know your username and so cannot identify your individual posts. 

Can I book all six sessions in one go?

No, at the moment you can only book your sessions week by week.

Are you able to provide translators?

No, however you are welcome to bring a friend or family member to the session to translate for you. 

Can I access the service if I'm not living in the UK?

At the moment this service is only available to residents of the UK. 

What is Zoom?

Zoom is an online video chat service. We chose to use Zoom for this service as it meets a high standard of confidentiality and data security. It also automatically adjusts to accommodate lower bandwidths, meaning that it will still work even with slower internet connections.

Do I have to download an app?

When you start your first session by following the link in your confirmation email or through the Online Community, you will be prompted to download the Zoom plugin (for desktop and laptops) or the app (for other devices).

The Zoom app/plugin is free to download and can be deleted from your device at any point.

What happens if the audio/video does not work?

Please see our  troubleshooting guide if you have difficulties with audio/video.

What happens if the internet drops out?

If something causes your video support session to end abruptly before the scheduled finish time, your counsellor will attempt to reconnect the session. If this is not possible, they will call you to finish the session on the telephone number you provided when you signed up to the service.

Is Zoom compatible with Windows/Mac/Android/iOS?

Yes, Zoom is compatible with a variety of operating systems. 

Can I connect using 3G/4G instead of WiFi?

Yes, Zoom will automatically adjust to lower bandwidths.

If you have a question that's not been answered here please email