Co-op has revealed that at least 8 million people have experienced the sudden death of a loved one this year.
The funeralcare operator commissioned a YouGov online survey which sampled 2097 adults between 30 October and 1 November 2020 in conjunction with the Good Grief Trust and National Grief Awareness Week.
Throughout the survey, respondents were asked to think about the most recent bereavement they experienced during the discussed time period.
The survey revealed that 51% of UK adults who have experienced a bereavement within the last year said the death of their loved one was unexpected, with one in ten UK adults who have experienced a bereavement within the last six months stating they have lost a loved one due to Covid-19.
The study also showed that the unexpected death of a loved one has a “significant negative impact” on an individual’s mental health, much more than an expected death.
The research highlighted that over a quarter (28%) of those who said they had lost a loved one unexpectedly during the past year said their loved one’s passing had a “negative impact” on their mental health compared to just 15% of those who experienced an expected death.
Additionally, almost two-fifths (37%) of respondents who said they have lost a loved one unexpectedly said it made them think about “the things they wish they had said to them”, and 17% revealed that the sudden death “affected” their relationships with other friends and family members.
Sam Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: “Our colleagues have witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of the pandemic, and the wave of grief which followed. Tragically, our research reaffirms the vital need for adequate bereavement support.
“We are yet to discover what long term impact the restrictions faced during the pandemic will have but in the meantime, we will be persistent in seeking to improve the support available to those who have sadly been affected during a time of such significant loss.”
He added: “We will continue to work closely with dedicated and brilliant organisations such as the Good Grief Trust and make sure the voices of the bereaved are heard.”