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Billy Alexander talks to Funeral Zone about SFAD’s vital bereavement support

Posted: 08-02-2017

Billy Alexander, bereavement support services coordinator at Scottish Families, has spoken to online bereavement resource Funeral Zone about the unique challenges of grief after a drugs or alcohol-related death.

In an exclusive interview for Funeral Zone’s blog, Billy explained why losing loved one to substance use can be especially painful and traumatic.

“The big difference is that it is a double bereavement,” Billy explained. “You’ve lost the person to alcohol or a substance, first and foremost. That could have been a week ago, a year ago, ten years ago. Then all of a sudden you’ve actually lost them physically.”

“A lot of professionals and clients don’t quite grasp that,” says Billy, who works closely with bereaved families on a regular basis to help them understand what they are going through. “I try to explain, ‘You’ve lost your son to heroin, and now you’ve lost him again.’”

Explaining how Scottish Families supports those who have lost a loved one, Billy also gave advice for anyone in a wider support network, struggling to know what to do or say during such an emotional time.

“First and foremost, be there and support them,” advises Billy. “Don’t give advice or try to fix it. The best thing to do is something practical. Don’t just give them a number, pick up the phone for them.”

You can read the blog post in full here.