The COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on the Silent Mentor Programme (SMP); this pause has not only caused unprecedented challenges for the delivery of medical education but has forced changes in the programme ceremony sessions. We aimed to describe the psychological impact and experiences of family members of silent mentors during the COVID-19 pandemic using qualitative interviews. Many expressed feelings of remorse and unrest about the unprecedented delay of the SMP. The delay increased negative emotions particularly among some elderly family members; however, there was no prominent negative effect on their functional health and well-being. Several participants relayed the belief that the soul cannot rest until the body receives a proper burial while some worried about the deterioration of the physical condition of the mentors. In conclusion, findings provide insights into the importance of not overlooking the mental health implications of delaying the SMP in future outbreaks or crises.
Keywords: COVID-19; death; delay; funeral; grief.