Counselling and Bereavement Services

Coronavirus: Dealing with Bereavement and Grief

You can access information about dealing with bereavement and loss at this time from Cruse Bereavement Care here.

Who is the service available for?

The Bereavement Support Service is available throughout the Highlands for anyone who has been bereaved by the death of a relative or friend cared for by Highland Hospice, as an in-patient, or as someone who used any of the Hospice services. It is equally available to the family or friends of former patients of specialist nurses involved in palliative care across the Highlands. It is available irrespective of when the person may have died.

If you are unsure whether this applies to you, please make contact and we can clarify things.

Making contact

Generally speaking, when someone in whose care the Hospice has had direct involvement dies, a member of the Bereavement Team will make contact with the family approximately six or eight weeks afterwards.

If you wish to make use of the service, or would like to discuss any aspect of what we offer, please write, phone, or email, and ask for the Bereavement Support Team. Your message will be passed to us and a member of the team will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

If you are a healthcare professional and would like to refer someone to the Bereavement Service you can use the this form.

Enquiries can be made to the Clinical Secretary on 01463 227919

Services available

Taking steps - A walking group in Inverness for people who have been bereaved.

When you are grieving, it can be difficult to find motivation to get outside and to exercise, even if you want to and believe it’s a good thing to do. Finding sustainable ways to look after your general health and wellbeing can be an important part of grieving. It is increasingly recognised that being active in green spaces has wide ranging benefits. Taking Steps offers gentle yet brisk health and wellbeing walks in a friendly and supportive group of people who have all recently experienced the loss of someone they love.

Taking Steps does not offer formal support but is supported by trained walk leaders from Highland Hospice. People are welcome to join the group during the first year or so following their bereavement. All walkers in the group are ‘in the same boat;’ giving the opportunity to walk in companiable silence, to chat with others who have similar experiences, or a mixture of both.

We meet at 10.00am on the first and third Tuesday of each month, in central Inverness. Gentle and accessible walks include the Whin Park, River Ness and its Islands, and along the Caledonian Canal towpath. The walks are no longer than an hour, and you will be made very welcome, whatever your level of walking ability. After walking, you are welcome to stay on for refreshments and more company & conversation at a nearby café.

There is no charge for the walks, but you will need to bring some money if you wish to come to the café afterwards.

For more information and to register, please contact Ann Craig at Highland Hospice Bereavement Services on 01463 227919

You do not need to have had previous contact with Highland Hospice to walk with Taking Steps.

Taking Steps is a partnership with Step It Up Highland, a health walk initiative which aims to promote walking and its benefits to people from all walks of life. You can find out more about regular local health walks across the Highlands here.

Individual Counselling

Counselling is available for people in bereavement. This is usually offered on an individual basis and offers an opportunity, in a confidential setting, to explore and address the personal issues which may be making the experience of grief particularly difficult.

Working together in counselling is an evolving, negotiated, and agreed process that aims to be responsive to your changing and developing needs and wishes. You can read more about what to expect from counselling here. We also have produced an information sheet which aims to clarify the basis of our agreement to work together. It is intended to give you confidence that you know what to expect. You can download that sheet here or at the bottom of the page.

'Living with Grief' - Counselling Support in a group

Sometimes, for some people, meeting in a group is preferable to one-to-one meetings. From time to time, the Hospice offers support to people through participation in a 'closed' group of people who have been bereaved. This gives the opportunity to meet others who may have similar experiences, and to benefit from mutual support and sharing of experiences and ideas.

A new initiative to help support people in the Highlands through bereavement is offering a ‘Living with Grief’ group, beginning in November. For more information please click here.

Please make contact if you would like to be kept informed about any forthcoming groups.


The Hospice Chaplain offers spiritual and pastoral support to people in bereavement. This support is non-denominational and is offered to people who have a specific religious faith as well as to those who would not describe themselves as ‘religious’.

The Hospice Chaplain can help with questions about funerals and can liaise with faith communities around the Highlands.

Social Work

Bereavement can raise many practical issues. The Hospice Social Work Team, can offer a wide range of advice and support.

Support for children

Have a look at The Crocus Group web pages. Crocus Group is a Highland Hospice service which offers support to bereaved children and young people across the Highlands, regardless of the cause of death of the person they have lost.

In the Hospice, help and advice is available to parents/carers supporting a child who has been bereaved. The Hospice Social Work Team Lead, Susan MacLeod, is the best person to contact about this in the first instance.

Tributes to the person you love but no longer see

Highland Hospice has on-line 'In Memoriam' book called Always in Our Hearts. It is a place to share memories and photos of those we love who have died. Whilst we may no longer see them, they nonetheless remain in our hearts. You can either flick through the book in its entirety or search for a specific person’s dedication.

For those who prefer not to be online, there is also a physical Book of Remembrance into which a loved one’s name, and a particular memory, can be entered. The books for current and past years are kept in a quiet room in the Hospice and you are welcome to look at them at any mutually convenient time.

Time to Remember

The Hospice Bereavement Support Service offers Memorial Events in Inverness and other parts of the Highlands for anyone who wishes to remember a loved one. Everyone is very welcome to attend any or all of these events and to join us for refreshments afterwards. Information about these events will be publicised on this page of the Hospice website, on Facebook, and in local press throughout the Highlands.

Our next Time to Remember service is on Saturday 7th November.