Working with people around the time of death and with those who are bereaved can be demanding. This can be the case for staff across health, social care and other agencies. It is important to ensure that you look after yourself and are aware of any impact to your own wellbeing.

Keeping well 

Trying to maintain and optimise your physical and mental health can be beneficial. This might include:

  • Getting regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet and by limiting your alcohol intake
  • Ensuring that you have the opportunity to take regular breaks at work
  • Protecting your time away from work during non-working days and annual leave
  • Attending to your emotional and spiritual needs
  • Recognising and acting on the early warning signs of possible stress, ‘burn-out’ or mental health difficulties

Resilience - The Avalanche

This short film, directed by Dr Matthew Walton, highlights the experience of a Mountain Rescue volunteer and how he has dealt with death, bereavement and has built personal resilience to stay well in the job.

Resilience - One Team's Trauma

This film was produced by a helicopter emergency medical service team and provides an insight into the emotional responses experienced by the team after attending a critical incident and what has helped them to cope.


Read more - BMJ Opinion article: "Processing trauma: Resilience may not lie within individuals, but between individuals", by Matthew Walton, May 15, 2018

Sources of help

It is important to seek help if you are experiencing any difficulties which relate to your health and wellbeing, whether it be related to grief and bereavement or not. There are many sources of help and information which can be accessed independently or in conjunction with contact from specialist Occupation Health staff support services.


Additional information 

Safe and Well at Work: Occupational Health and Safety Strategic Framework for NHSScotland, Scottish Government, March 2011

Caring for Yourself in End of Life Care (Irish Hospice Foundation) leaflet

Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives

NHS Health Scotland Keep Well

Scotland's Health on the Web, NHSScotland

Healthy Living, Scottish Government

Staff Governance, NHSScotland

Thriving in Medicine, information for doctors in training from the Scotland Deanery

Lifelines Scotland – supporting the wellbeing of volunteer emergency responders

You Behind The Uniform - free training and support from Cruse Bereavement Care for emergency services workers including frontline healthcare staff

Managing bereavement in the workplace: a good practice guide, ACAS