City residents ‘take less time to get over grief’

People at a funeral consoling each other
People at a funeral consoling each other
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It’s the city with a reputation for being dour and reserved – more likely to assume you’ve had your tea than to offer you any.

Now the old Edinburgh stereotype has been given a fresh boost after a survey found the Capital’s residents recover faster than anyone else in the UK following the loss of a loved one.

Research by national health and social care charity Sue Ryder found it takes Edinburgh locals just one year, four months and 29 days to feel better following bereavement – compared to the national average of two years, one month and four days.

More worryingly, the findings show more than a third of the city’s residents suffer in silence – bottling up emotions that eventually catch up with them at a later date.

But with just 1.3 per cent of people from Edinburgh reporting “I didn’t have anyone to talk to” – compared with 7.5 per cent of the general population – perhaps the figures also indicate those who share their problems cope better.

The groundbreaking Sue Ryder survey quizzed more than 2000 Edinburgh residents who had suffered bereavement – asking them to estimate how long it took to get back on their feet. An average was then taken to work out the recovery period for the city as a whole.

The figures show Edinburgh locals bounce back faster than any other city in the UK, with Sheffielders spending the longest time in mourning – three years, two months and two days.

And city-wide stereotypes aren’t the only clichés to be confirmed by the results – with woman admitting it took them nearly two years and four months to recover, while men claimed to feel better after just over one year and nine months.

Men were also less comfortable than women when it came to discussing bereavement, with one in four saying they didn’t talk about it with anyone compared to one in seven women.

Meanwhile, those aged between 45 and 54 took more than twice as long to feel better after the death of a loved one than those aged between 16 and 24.

Heidi Travis, chief 
executive of Sue Ryder, said: “This groundbreaking research gives us a provocative insight into how we deal with grief as a nation. It is unsurprising that so many people try to deal with their loss on their own but that it catches up with them at a later date.

“Bereavement can be a long and difficult process and we’ve launched our new online community and support to help people who are struggling to come to terms with a friend or loved one’s death and would benefit from receiving expert advice and tips as well as peer to peer support.

“The service also seeks to better prepare people before a loved one dies and provides advice with everything from how to cope with their terminal diagnosis through to place of care decisions and how to plan before and after their death.

“Death affects everyone connected to that person and we hope our new online community and support will better support people during the most difficult time of their lives.”

But John McGillivray, the owner of John McGillivray Funeral Directors on Restalrig Road, warned against using the research to typecast Edinburgh as a whole.

He said: “I think everyone’s different and everybody grieves in their own way – the length of times vary. I don’t think it’s a blanket thing you can say about Edinburgh.”