Pat + Michelle: Unspoken Grief – Bereavement + Learning Disability

The experience of many bereaved people with learning disabilities is that there is no one to share their grief with. People around them feel uncomfortable in a misguided wish to protect them. Pat and Michelle share their own experiences.

Pat Charlesworth has worked throughout her life to support the rights of people with learning disabilities. She is a member of the National Network for Palliative Care of People with a Learning Disability, and helped write NICE guidance on growing older with a learning disability.

She’s an active member of Hackney People First and is on the partnership forum, helping shape best practice within the local authority.

Pat has worked with the Foundation for People with a Learning Disability (FPLD) for many years, chairing its Hate Crime project. She was on the team that developed work on mutual caring, mental health, faith and spirituality, and actively supports carers with a learning disability themselves. Pat joins us to share her experience after her parents died.

Michelle McDermott is co-chair of the Thera Trust board. Michelle brings her lived experience of learning disability to the role as well as her experience of supporting adults with a mild to moderate learning disability.

Alongside her role at Thera, Michelle also works at Paradigm as Associate co-facilitator, at Generate as a co-trainer for the Easy Health project and at Books Beyond Words as a facilitator. Michelle joins us to share her experience after her partner of 10 years died.



Michelle McDermott

Patricia Charlesworth

Dr Noelle Blackman