New Bereavement Services Available in Kent

14th September 2021

Two new services providing support to people who have been bereaved are being launched in Kent. The first is for those from pre-school age to 25 years and the second can support anyone who has been affected by suicide, helping to provide practical and emotional support.

Support for Those Affected by Loss

Led by CHUMS Social Enterprise CIC, the first new service will deliver specialist bereavement support to those from pre-school age to 25 years who are experiencing complex grief.

Commissioned by Kent County Council and the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, the second is called Amparo and is led by Listening Ear. This service can support anyone who has been affected by suicide by providing practical and emotional support in a range of ways, including one-to-one individual advice, help with media enquiries, support, guidance and signposting to further services.

Kent County Council Cabinet Lead for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Clair Bell says: “By working very closely with partners across Kent, we have seen that these children and adults need much more specialist support to help them get through such incredibly hard experiences. We encourage people to use these new services so they can get that crucial support as early as possible.”

Dr Jihad Malasi, Clinical Lead in Mental Health from the Kent and Medway CCG added: “These two new projects will allow us to ensure that children and adults are able to access support and guidance at this difficult time in their lives. Speaking to someone about what they are experiencing can make all the difference and help them cope with the loss they have suffered.”

CHUMS Social Enterprises CIC

Dawn Hewitt, Chief Executive at CHUMS, says: “Bereaved children, young people, young adults and families in Kent and Medway deserve to have this service and CHUMS are privileged to have been chosen to deliver it. Those that will benefit from the service will receive the highest levels of care to help them to manage the overwhelming impact that a bereavement can have on their lives. We will offer holistic support that helps to manage the impact that a death has on the lives of children, young people, young adults and families across Kent and Medway”.

CHUMS will offer bereavement support in Kent and Medway through bereavement groups via 1:1 bereavement support, telephone advice and guidance and bereavement literature. Details of this support will be widely publicised within education settings, primary care, youth groups and other relevant organisations, whilst referrals including self-referrals will be available via an online form at

Listening Ear and Amparo

Richard Brown, CEO of Listening Ear which manages the Amparo service in Kent & Medway commented: “We offer support to people going through something which most of us find unimaginable. The process following a suspected suicide can be lengthy and complex. Our Liaison Workers are able to offer expert advice and guidance to support people through this time. We know that those bereaved by suicide are at much higher risk of suicide themselves, so it is crucial we are able to provide immediate help and support to those bereaved. Amparo can help with a lot of the practical issues that arise when suicide is suspected or confirmed.”

The details of Amparo and information about the support they offer can be accessed by calling 0330 088 9255, by emailing or through an online referral form available at

Mental Health Text Service

People are also reminded of the help available in Kent including an easy-to-use mental health text service. As part of the ‘Release the Pressure’ campaign, texts are free on all major mobile networks – by texting the word “Kent” to 85258, you will start a conversation with a trained and experienced volunteer who can give support at any time, wherever you are.

You can find out more about ‘Release the Pressure’ text service, freephone helpline and other community mental health support services by visiting