Sometimes the shock, grief and pain caused by a road crash can feel like more than it's possible to bear. Talking to friends, family, your GP or a specialist helpline such as Brake's can be enough to see you through, but sometimes a little extra support can be beneficial, such as face-to-face therapy, a visit from a supportive volunteer or meeting others who have suffered a similar experience.
There are lots of reasons why people seek extra support, and many different services exist across the country that can provide help in various ways. Unfortunately, in most areas of the UK, specialist face-to-face help is not automatically offered to road crash victims, and the support that is available via local agencies and charities may be difficult to find out about when you are coping with the aftermath of a crash.
Our helpline officers can research what support is available to meet your needs, and make referrals or signpost you towards the most suitable sources of help.
Please note that we are offering to find existing services, which are not operated by Brake. In some areas, options may be very limited and the nearest service may be some distance away. Brake does not vet or recommend services; we aim to let you know about the options that are available to best meet your needs so that you can make informed choices.
Brake's helpline officers are trained and experienced in working with road crash victims to find the most suitable type of support available for them. We maintain a large database of local, national and specialist emotional support services across the UK, and we are adding to it all the time. If you feel that you would benefit from additional support, over and above the help that is available to you already, please get in touch and we will do all we can to help. If we can't find a suitable service on our database, we will research what else is available for you.
How can I request help in finding additional support?
To find out about suitable support services to meet your needs, just call the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401. If you are finding it difficult to talk about what has happened you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can ask someone else to make contact, such as a family member, friend, nurse or GP.
Can I request this type of help for someone else?
Yes you can. We are here to help anyone affected by the crash, and if you are concerned about a loved one of any age, we will be happy to discuss their needs with you and search for appropriate support for you to suggest to them. Ideally, you should try to get your loved one's permission before contacting us about their needs, unless you are their parent or guardian and they are too young or for some other reason unable to give their consent. Please be aware that some people do not feel they need or want additional emotional support, and that it will only be beneficial if the person is a willing participant.
Will you be able to find someone who can visit at home / in hospital?
Sometimes we are able to source a service that can provide home or hospital visits, although many services require you to travel to a venue in order to receive support. If it is very important that the support comes to you, please make us aware of this and we will do everything we can to find a service that can meet your needs; however this may or may not be possible in your area.
The crash was very recent and/or I'm feeling terribly isolated and vulnerable. Is there a service that can help?
The first days and weeks following a death or serious injury on the road can be particularly hard to bear. The emotional shock and pain can be overwhelming and feelings can be especially intense, dark or raw. At this time, the companionship, care and support of family and friends can make all the difference, but unfortunately not everyone has access to this type of help. If you feel vulnerable or isolated, or if you have serious concerns about your own, or someone else's, ability to cope, Brake can try to find a suitably experienced support worker for you, who can help you through this terrible time by providing you with face-to-face emotional support, sometimes in your home / in hospital. The support worker will not work for Brake, and may be from a local bereavement service, specialist injury support charity, religious group or befriending network (we will always explore with you the types of service that you would feel comfortable with, before beginning to seek support for you). Please be aware that it is not possible to source suitable support workers in every area, as a result of varying availability of appropriate services to provide this type of help. If we are unable to source a support worker, we will search for alternative sources of help and discuss these with you to find the best available support for your needs.
What happens next?
The helpline support officer will discuss with you how you are feeling, what sort of support you feel may help, and how realistic it is that we will be able to find the type of support you are hoping for. We will agree on a helpful way forwards and inform you of how long we think it will take to do the required research. In many cases it will be possible to direct you towards suitable sources of additional support immediately, or within a week. However, during busy periods, it may take up to two weeks or, very occasionally, longer.
Once we have the details of suitable services, we will call and/or email you to pass on the results of our search, including details of the service(s) we have identified as being suitable, a description of how they can help you, and information about how to access the service(s). In some cases we are able to pass on your details to the service and arrange for them to make contact with you directly, if you give your permission for us to do so. There are some occasions when we find that no appropriate support is available. This is usually when a caller is seeking very specialised support, or seeking face-to-face support within a limited geographical area, particularly in rural areas. Brake’s helpline support is available to you for as long as it is helpful.
Can I continue to receive support from Brake's helpline if I'm receiving additional support from another service?
Yes. We aim to provide Brake's helpline support in tandem with other services, unless there are reasons why this would not be helpful. If this is the case, it will be discussed with you by your helpline support officer.
Brake's helpline is a confidential service, and we never share callers' names, contact details or details of helpline conversations with other services, unless we have your permission to do so. We sometimes need to outline the broad circumstances of a case to other agencies in the course of researching available support, but we always aim to do this in a way that would prevent the case from being recognised, if at all possible.