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SFAD Bereavement Service

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As the number of drug deaths continue to rise in Scotland, the impacts of an alcohol or drug related death are being felt all across the nation. In order to help address these impacts Scottish Families Affected by Alchol and Drugs have a bereavement service freely available for anyone who wishes to access it. 

A drug-related or alcohol-related death can be caused by a number of things. It does not always mean that the person who died had an alcohol or drug problem e.g. a person who dies after experimenting with drugs or someone who has had an accident while under the influence.

In addition to grieving, some families may also experience a ‘secondary loss’. Families have found that they have been coping with the frustration, stress, and pain of the person’s drug or alcohol use for a long time. They may feel that they have ‘lost’ the person they knew many years before.

The SFAD bereavement service offers support at any stage of the grieving process. They can offer over the phone support and up to 6 sessions with a qualified counsellor, where appropriate. Their counsellors are located all over Scotland and are currently providing counselling via phone or online (Zoom/Skype etc.)

There are a number of ways to refer into the SFAD service. The quickest way to make a self-referral is through our helpline - Call: 08080 10 10 11 or Email: hThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can access the live webchat via the website:

If you are making a referral on behalf of someone else you can fill out the online referral form: -If making a referral please ensure you have the permission of the person being referred.

You can find a printable leaflet on this service here:  For hard copies of this, or any other leaflets, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What happens when you contact Scottish Families Bereavement Service?

One of the helpline advisers will take your contact details and ask you where you live so that we can find the closest counsellor to you. They will then pass your information to the SFAD bereavement support staff who will contact you to offer support and explore with you the options for counselling. They will also answer any questions or concerns you may have on the counselling process.

The counsellor will then contact you themselves and will arrange a suitable time, place and day for your counselling sessions. The service is for anyone aged 16+ but if you are under this age SFAD can still help find suitable support for you.

Your counselling sessions will last around 50 minutes. SFAD usually offer up to six sessions but if you need less or more they can sort this out. If you can’t make one of your sessions, please give your counsellor 24 hours’ notice so that it can be rescheduled. If you miss a session without telling your counsellor it will count as one of your sessions.

If you have any questions about the Bereavement service please do not hesitate to contact SFAD on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Other bereavement support is available here: 

Orkney Alcohol and Drugs Partnership