Mariam Shwea

Thesis Title: Collaborating to improve bereavement support provision in the UK, particularly for minoritised and marginalised groups

Abstract: Approximately 600,000 people die each year in the UK. Informal support from social networks is vital for bereaved individuals to aid recovery, ameliorate symptoms of grief, improve quality of life and support mental wellbeing. The recent UK Commission on Bereavement report (2022) found that 18% of people had no support from friends and family in bereavement, and 37% did not know what support was available to them. Inequities in access to bereavement support exacerbate these challenges for individuals from marginalised and minoritised groups, with many bereavement services failing to provide support to those from: minoritised ethnic communities; non-English speakers; sexual and gender minority groups; socio-economically deprived communities; travelling communities; experiencing homelessness; with learning difficulties, physical disability or with mobility problems; and those who are digitally or geographically excluded. Bereavement research with these communities is also limited, resulting in marginalisation in research as well as service access. Due to this legacy of exclusion it is vital to consider how needs, experiences and support strategies vary to understand how services can meet the needs of underserved groups.

Research question: How can we improve the delivery of, and widen access to, appropriate bereavement support particularly for minoritised and marginalised UK groups?

Methods: This PhD project will be conducted in three phases: a systematic literature review and framework synthesis; an in depth qualitative study; and finally a theory refinement and intervention development phase. In parallel to these phases we will develop a diversity and inclusion patient and public involvement (D&IPPI) network to inform the project and future research direction at the Cicely Saunders Institute.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Katherine Bristowe

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Pathway: Pathway 3: HBSI

Cohort: 2023-24