Formal bereavement support and experts

Research Type:

  • Expert evaluation

  • Interviews

  • Questionnaire

A study conducted to gain a greater understanding of the formal support provided to bereaved individuals by mental healthcare practitioners. Through semi-structured interviews with 7 participants I explored the support provided to bereaved people, what experts believe is important, and sticking points for clients that can lessen the impact of the support. Participants were also asked to evaluate a series of user requirements for computationally creative systems intended to support bereaved people.

My role:

  • Lead researcher - organise, conduct, analyse, and write up


  • Wendy Moncur, University of Strathclyde

  • Alison Pease, University of Dundee


Technology used by bereaved people for support is often not designed with that purpose in mind. Services such as Facebook have had to evolve to meet bereaved users’ needs (i.e. legacy contact and memorial pages), and as such provide limited support in ways that can endanger users’ mental wellbeing.


Technology designed to provide similar support to mental healthcare practitioners could improve the effectiveness of technological support and lessen the likelihood of emotional distress. This lead us to explore the support provided by mental healthcare practitioners to bereaved clients, and to have these experts evaluate design considerations for systems intended to support the bereaved.

Research Aims

  • What contributes to the success of support provided to the bereaved?

  • What obstacles do those providing support face?

  • To refine design considerations for systems to support the bereaved identified in a previous user study.

Key Findings

Bereaved people benefit from user-centred support that allows them to express themselves in whichever way they feel most able, in a setting they feel safe, to someone they do not fear judegement from. Mental healthcare practitioners believed co-creative systems that met our design considerations would provide support similar to that which they provide.