FAQs: What to Expect When You Get in Touch

If you think Cruse Scotland could help you, please phone our national helpline – 0808 802 6161 or email

A trained member of our helpline team will ask you for some brief details about yourself and your situation. There may be times when there’s no one available to take your call, in which case you’ll need to leave your contact details on our answerphone – please don’t be put off by this. Just be prepared to leave a brief message, remembering to give your name and telephone number. We know that some people have difficulty using an answerphone, but please try and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you might choose to use our webchat service.

Cruse Scotland counsellors are professionals who volunteer their time outside of their own therapeutic practice or counselling studies to support our clients. Helpline volunteers are compassionate, trustworthy individuals who have undergone thorough training to provide listening services to clients over the phone. Both types of volunteers are specially trained in the process of grieving and how to work with bereaved people. Some of our counsellors are more specialist in working with children, young people and families, or those who have been bereaved through suicide.

Cruse Scotland counsellors will listen carefully and respond sensitively to enable you to work through your grief. We know that the best solutions are the ones you discover for yourself.

When working with children, counsellors will adapt their approaches to meet the needs of the child, depending on their age and understanding. They will also work with parents and carers to enable them to support the child at home.

Our counsellors and helpline volunteers are all different ages and from different walks of life and many of them will have experienced close bereavements themselves. They are not just trained once and left to it; they receive ongoing training and support throughout their time with Cruse Scotland.

Please be assured that your counsellor will keep everything confidential. They will keep appointments and see you regularly. They won’t be able to take away the pain of your bereavement, but they will support you while you work through it at your own pace. You can expect your counsellor to be warm and welcoming and they will respect you as an individual for whom bereavement support is a temporary, though valuable, step in working through your grief and coming to terms with your loss. Cruse Scotland has strict practice and policy guidelines that adhere to the robust requirement of COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland).


There is a big demand for our support, so the only thing we ask is that once accepted, you keep your appointments (apart from in emergencies), or cancel in good time, so we can make the best use of our limited supply of counsellors.

One-to-one support with one of our carefully selected and trained counsellors takes place either at your local Cruse Scotland’s premises or at another agreed venue, including (in the case of child) the child’s school if possible and desirable. 

We can also offer sessions over the phone or through confidential video conferencing.

A session normally lasts for about one hour. 

Bereaved adults will be offered an initial appointment of 50 minutes - this will be offered to you as quickly as possible. This time is used to assess the help that would be best suited to you, and whether or not Cruse Scotland is the best organisation to help you. If it is, you will be placed on a waiting list until a bereavement counsellor is available. If we feel Cruse Scotland is not likely to be the best organisation to help you, we will suggest other options.

All Cruse Scotland counselling and listening services are free. The counsellors and other volunteers all provide their services free of charge.  However, as we rely on client donations to help fund the operating costs of our charity, we do invite adult clients to make a donation if they can afford to.

All our counsellors and helpline volunteers work to a strict code of ethics, which binds them to hold everything you say in confidence, unless they feel there is a risk to your life or the lives of others. You should know that our counsellors are all supervised - they may talk to their supervisor about your experience, but they will never share information that may identify you.