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A brief outline of the grief, loss, death and dying course, how to look after one another and what to expect
© Tavistock & Portman NHS FT
Taking care of yourself

This course is about loss, the ways we cope with upheaval and how we can find meaning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These are emotive topics. You may notice at certain points that you become upset or are reminded of losses you have faced, or you may notice yourself drift off or struggle to finish a step that is emotional. Try to notice this if you can so that you can ensure you look after yourself throughout the course, and feel free to share your reflections with other learners also.

You don’t need to complete each week all in one sitting, and do step away from the course or take breaks when you feel the need.

You’ll find a list of further resources and support at the end of Week 4.

Learning activities & Source material

The course combines a variety of interactive steps that include videos, case studies articles, discussions, and the keeping of a reflective journal. We will hear from expert speakers and have assimilated relevant published excerpts and articles from the field of loss, death and dying. Most of the relevant reading material will be included within the steps, with the option for learners to follow links to full articles to learn more.

We are particularly grateful to The Guardian newspaper in the UK which has regularly recorded the voices and experiences of those affected most by the pandemic. We refer to these often poignant first-hand reports of families, workers, carers and members of the general public as a scaffold to encourage learner reflection and to link to theory throughout the course.

You will also meet a Social Worker called Sharna who will share her experiences of working in close proximity to vulnerability and loss. She’ll describe the challenges her and her colleagues have faced throughout the pandemic.

We are also interested in your own experiences, which we encourage you to share through conversation on the discussion thread.

Course syllabus

Week 1: Death and dying: what’s the same and what’s new about COVID-19

Week 2: The workers

Week 3: The families

Week 4: Managing the crisis and moving on

Learning outcomes

  • Explore the changes inflicted on individuals and communities by Covid19 that necessitate adjustments to how we think about and manage people’s losses, and processes surrounding death and dying
  • Reflect on the variety of lived experiences of the crisis and appreciate the importance of listening carefully to emotionally charged narratives
  • Explore familiar theories and methods of work that respond to loss, grief and death within the new ‘frame’ of a post Covid19 world
  • Explore how powerful feelings and disturbing thoughts can be passed around among people, making it hard to think clearly and retain perspective
  • Explore the differential impact of Covid19 on different sub populations, ethnic groups, workforce sectors, countries, and how helping responses need to take account of these variations
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the skills and principle needed to facilitate ordinary ‘barefoot’ helping responses to a range of groups and individuals

Considerate conversation

Almost every step has space for conversation and debate in the Comments area. While Discussion steps feature more focused conversational tasks, anyone can talk about material within each step’s Comments area.

We will regularly prompt you to share your thoughts and ideas with questions or suggestions at the end of a step. You can contribute to these conversations as and when you are able to.

If you see a comment that is deliberately sharing misinformation, or inflammatory, or that is otherwise inappropriate, please press the flag button beneath the comment for FutureLearn’s moderators to review.

The purpose of this course

This course is provided for personal use only and not for any commercial, professional medical, or business purposes. All content and opinions presented throughout this course are for educational purposes only and do not constitute the provision of professional medical or mental health advice.

You should not rely on the contents of this course, or other learners, in place of professional advice from a regulated mental health professional.

© Tavistock & Portman NHS FT
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Grief, Loss, and Dying During COVID-19

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