It can affect you and the person who is ill in different ways. Some people go through an emotional experience that’s similar to grieving. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

Not everyone wants to talk about what they are feeling as these conversations can be difficult, however it can really help to share your worries and fears.

You might want support to help you talk to your partner, family, or friends. Or you might want to talk to a specialist such as a counsellor, someone with spiritual or religious expertise or a nurse or doctor.

Sometimes sharing with someone not so immediately close to you allows you to express thoughts that you feel you cannot share with your loved one because you are worried about upsetting them.

Once you are referred to Pilgrims your Pilgrims nurse can help you arrange to see any of our specialists. We can make face to face appointments with our teams or set up opportunities for you to talk over the phone if you prefer.

Our services include:

Free counselling for you and your loved one

Pilgrims free counselling service offers emotional and psychological support to families, carers and friends affected by the events and the changes caring for someone with a terminal illness brings. It is available across east Kent through our Pilgrims Therapy Centres and on our wards. If it is a challenge to come to us, we can also support in your home anywhere in east Kent or through one of our outreach centres.

How Pilgrims counsellors can help

All our counselling sessions are confidential. Depending on your preference, our counsellors can see you individually or together with other family members.

They can help you talk about your deepest concerns, difficulties and distress you may be experiencing. By supporting you to express your feelings, they can help you to adjust and find ways of coping with what is happening.

Counsellors are also experienced in helping to address the needs of children and young people at this difficult time and offering support and guidance to parents/carers.

Groups for patients and families

As well as offering individual and family counselling, Pilgrims counsellors are also involved in a range of Carers Days and Patient and Family Support Groups which are held through our Therapy Centres Wellbeing and Social Programme. Information about these services is sent to all patients and their families by post, but you can click here to find out more or email for more information.

Pilgrims Counselling Service is provided by qualified counsellors, accredited through either the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy or the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.

Support with bereavement

This care does not end when the person dies, we are there for you throughout the journey and there is a range of support available through bereavement too. Click here to find out about the support that is available after someone close to you has died.

What to do if you feel you aren’t coping

Sometimes the feeling that you can't cope with your situation does not go away, and you may feel too low to be able to do any of the things you want to.

If this happens to you and these feelings persist, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or a member of the Pilgrims team to see what else can be done to help.

Pilgrims 24 Hour Advice Line for carers and patients

Our advice line for families and patients is open 24 hours a day if you need urgent support. The phone line does not offer crisis intervention, in an emergency please call 999 or a service such as Samaritans. More information on this is below.

Other expert advice in east Kent

Whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines can offer expert advice too: Samaritans offer confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) Mental Health Matters also offer a free helpline, which is open 5pm – 9am, 24hrs weekends and bank holidays – the number if you are in Kent and Medway is 0800 107 0160 .