About us News and stories Blogs "The key is to reach out to those within a group who’ll become champions for support" How I'm helping communities in Guyana to accept bereavement support By Marva Langevine, Grief Advocate and founder of Guyana Golden Lives Organization and Marva's HUGS (Healing and Understanding for Grieving Souls). Marva undertook a placement a Child Bereavement UK as part of an MSc Psychology of Mental Health with St Mary's University. I’m passionate about going into communities and holding workshops and talks so when I leave there are people within those groups and communities who can be advocates for support and who feel equipped and empowered to tell other people about what’s available and why support helps. In Guyana there are a number of different ethnic groups with people of African, Indian, Chinese, European and Indigenous origin. Some communities are more open to receiving support, but others are more suspicious and there are a lot of taboos and superstitions around death and dying. Sometimes when I meet a bereaved person, I’m the first person they’ve been able to talk to about their grief. In the Caribbean, many communities have a stoic attitude towards death and dying and believe there is a set timeline for grieving – they think they’ve moved on but actually they’re often suffering in silence. When someone reaches out for support, it’s so important that I listen and let them speak about their loved one and their memories because I know that if I shut them down, they might never speak about it again. You don’t always have to respond or say anything, sometimes it’s about just sitting with someone and listening - I’ve seen how powerful and impactful that is with people I’ve worked with. I’m passionate about going into communities and holding workshops and talks so that when I leave there are people within those groups and communities who can be advocates for support and who feel equipped and empowered to tell other people about what’s available and why support helps. It's all about creating a community of care. Understanding cultures and values is important but, from my experience, the key is to reach out to those within a group who will become champions for support – then you’ll make an impact. The best person to provide support is someone from a community who understands the way of life and as professionals we can learn from them too. Visit our page: How we can support you for more on our services. You can also call our Helpline 0800 02 888 40, email [email protected], or use Live Chat on our website.