If you are trying to access the emotional wellbeing enquiry line outside of its operating hours, the hospice OneCall service can take messages and signpost in an emergency. Call the team on 0800 567 0111.
Access local NHS mental health support
Call 111 and select option 2 to access support for urgent mental health needs. The 24/7 service is for people of all ages in Suffolk & Norfolk requiring mental health care, advice and support.
“It is a privilege to be able to use your skillset to support others, especially through such difficult times in their lives,” says Hanna McDowell, Head of Therapy and Community Care Units, who has worked at St Elizabeth Hospice for nearly a decade.
“It gives you a great motivation every day and it is a big reason why I made the decision to work in physiotherapy as I wanted to improve people’s quality of life using my care.
“Alongside the clinical care, delivered by our fantastic medical, nursing and therapy staff, our team helps the hospice provide a holistic service to all those under our care which is so important, and we are all united in our shared ambition to continue developing and expanding our services to support more people in the local community.”
Hanna added: “In addition to the broad range of therapy support we provide, we also serve as a single point of access for all in Suffolk who need access to bereavement, emotional and wellbeing support, which is a vital portal for the area.
“Working in a team, and for an organisation, where you believe in what they are doing is so important. Especially as, like so many people throughout Suffolk, I know the importance of the hospice’s care first hand.
“Living locally in Felixstowe, my sister has also worked at St Elizabeth Hospice and members of my family, as well as family friends, have received care from the hospice. It really is a special place to work and to be, with a warm and caring atmosphere.”
Outside of work, Hanna enjoys spending time with her family - her partner Chris, son Henry and their dog Dexter – going for walks along Felixstowe seafront and swimming.
While a typical working day sees Hanna leading the co-ordination of services across the LivingGrief bereavement service and emotional and spiritual wellbeing teams, therapy teams and the Community Care Units while also supporting staff and continually looking at ways services can evolve to better meet the needs of service users.
Through the Community Care Units, Hanna and her team offer the opportunity for patients’ wellbeing, physical and social needs to be met, as well as enabling the convenience of all necessary healthcare appointments to be organised and completed in one location, on the same day.
While her work with the therapy teams, including occupational therapy and physiotherapy, sees Hanna work with colleagues to help those under their care with maximising and maintaining their independence through provision of supporting equipment and physical exercise guidance to improve quality of life.
Hanna said: “The support the hospice receives from the local community, through volunteering, fundraising and donations, is brilliant and it really touches all the staff to know we are working alongside the community to support those who need our care.
“For those who think they could benefit from the support of our LivingGrief bereavement service and emotional and spiritual wellbeing teams, please do get in contact as we here to help and keen to support in any way we can.”
“To have the trust of people, to support them in whatever they are struggling with, is a real privilege and something which motivates me every day,” said Katherine Grogan, Emotional Wellbeing Team Lead and Counsellor at St Elizabeth Hospice.
“I believe in the work of the hospice and what it stands for. The emotional wellbeing and spiritual care team, which includes our bereavement service LivingGrief, carries out such powerful work to support people emotionally and spiritually, both during illness or in bereavement, to make a really difficult journey easier and help people live a life which feels more possible.”
Katherine, who joined the St Elizabeth Hospice team in 2017, said: “I began at the hospice four years ago, initially working three days a week as a counsellor and music therapist, but as the role has grown I have had the opportunity to develop my skills into being Team Leader for the service.
“My interest in therapy, beginning with the positive impact of music therapy, stemmed from an inspiring teacher at school who introduced me to music therapy. Music was an important part of my teenage years and childhood and this really shaped my ambition to train to become a music therapist.
“Music is such a big part of my life and always will be. To be able to combine my hobby with my passion for supporting others is really important to me and I feel lucky to have found a job that allows me to do this.”
Having grown up in Dover, Katherine moved to Suffolk, near Framlingham, 18 years ago. Initially training and working as a music therapist, she then completed additional training as a psychotherapeutic counsellor before going on to work privately and for a number of charities.
“The change to counselling was a natural progression from music therapy, a non-verbal medium, through to using a verbal medium. Throughout my adult life I have had different times of accessing counselling. My own experiences confirm that counselling and psychotherapy can make a real difference to people’s lives,” she explained.
“My role can be challenging at times but is also rewarding. Our team’s services form a vital part of the hospice’s overall care and ensure St Elizabeth Hospice delivers holistic support, including emotional and spiritual support, to all patients and families under our care.
“People are sometimes surprised we have a bereavement service, as they often associate the hospice with end-of-life care, but as a team we are proud of our work in developing, and continuing to evolve, a robust service which cares for families and their loved ones after a death – it really has become an integral part of the work of St Elizabeth Hospice.
“During the pandemic, we expanded our criteria so we are now able to work with anyone who is bereaved through a progressive illness or Covid-19. The LivingGrief service provides different levels of support according to need.
“This ranges from information and resources, our walking group ‘Walk On’ which is a drop in group open to everyone, to therapeutic groups, to one to one counselling for people who experience very difficult bereavements needing specialist counselling input.
“Counselling sessions are delivered face-to-face, online and by telephone. The team also plays a role in the hospice education department, delivering sessions as part of the Education programme to hospice staff and other care providers.”
LivingGrief also has a wider role in the area as we develop a bereavement co-ordination hub for East Suffolk, improving access for bereavement support for anyone facing a bereavement.
A typical day sees Katherine support clients either face-to-face, remotely or on the phone, supervising staff and volunteers as well as developing the service in such projects as the bereavement support walking group, Walk On and the East Suffolk Bereavement co-ordination Hub.
While outside of work Katherine tutors on a local counselling degree course. She enjoys spending her time in the Suffolk countryside with friends and family as well her cockapoo puppy, Rafi.
She added: “Being outside, whether that is walking, running or swimming in the sea, is good for my wellbeing and mental health. I also still enjoy playing the piano and flute as well as singing in a local choir and attending concerts and festivals when I can.
“If you think you could benefit from the support of the St Elizabeth Hospice LivingGrief bereavement service and emotional and spiritual wellbeing team, please do get in contact as we are always happy to listen and to help.”
To discuss and access emotional and spiritual support call us directly on our enquiry line: