Everybody will face bereavement at some stage; but for some people, this can be a more difficult process. There are many factors that can influence how people cope with the loss of a loved one, including the support they receive from family, their financial resources, stress, and the circumstances surrounding death.
By studying use of prescription medications to help with mental health, we can get a better understanding of how factors such as age, gender, family support, employment and religion affect how people cope after bereavement. By looking at circumstances of bereavement, this study will also discover if the factors that help people cope – such as family support – are more or less important depending on how they lost their loved ones.
The Grief Study is based on data from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study, which holds information on around 500,000 people. By linking this data with the Northern Ireland Mortality Study and Health and Social care information on prescriptions, we hope to learn more about bereavement, mental health, complicated grief, and longer term outcomes for people who have lost a loved one.
The Grief Study started in November 2012. The Research Approvals Group for the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study approved the project at the start of February 2013, and since then we’ve started working to get the data ready.