Families of coronavirus victims left struggling with mental health

21 September 2020, 14:18

By Jessica Forbes

Families of people who died from Coronavirus say they’ve been left struggling with their mental health after their relatives' deaths, which is leaving them unable to grieve.

LBC has spoken to the families of four people who passed away after contracting Covid-19 at the peak of the pandemic, who say the trauma of losing their loved one in that way has left them with what they can only describe as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

All four families say they’re dealing with the pain every day of not having been able to say goodbye, not being allowed there at the end to hold their hands and the triple blow of then not being able to give them a proper funeral.

55-year-old Karen Fraser Knight, from Stockport says she’s dealing with flashbacks and a feeling of having let down her identical twin sister, Paula Greenhough, who passed away after a short battle with Coronavirus in a hospital in Greater Manchester.

The fit and healthy Zumba teacher was placed on a ventilator which she never came off, and her family were only allowed a short telephone call during which she told them she was frightened.

Helen Kirkham lost her mum Maureen after she contracted the virus from her care home
Helen Kirkham lost her mum Maureen after she contracted the virus from her care home. Picture: Helen Kirkham

Helen Kirkham, from Liverpool, lost her mum Maureen Kirkham, 88, after she contracted the virus from her care home.

Helen says the shock and trauma of what happened had her questioning if her mum was even in the casket on the day of her funeral after she was told she wasn’t allowed to sit with her at the end or visit her body on the mortuary.

She says every day she battles with the feeling that her mum has simply vanished after she was stopped from seeing her for months due to care home restrictions.

These families are part of a six thousand strong private online group, supporting people who have lost people to coronavirus called Yellow Hearts to Remember Covid-19.

The Facebook group was set up after it was acknowledged there was a care gap in people grieving in 2020.

The families are now calling on the Government to do more to fund mental health provision to try to stop a mental health ticking time bomb in the coming months and years to come.

They want to meet with Boris Johnson to talk about what happened and how the situation they found themselves in could have been handled differently, but so far, the Prime Minister has refused to sit down with them.