Saturday, 28 March 2015

Helping Children Cope with Bereavement

Warning: Sensitive content, may contain triggers.

In the past month or so Lara has begun to ask more questions about death.  It started with asking why Jesus died and beginning to come to terms with that, and has then moved on to why, and when, people die.  We have never shrunk away from concepts of death, and Lara remembers well two dogs we have known that died, but thankfully has yet to experience the death of a person she loves and is close to.  We talk about the dogs Sully and Ted often, and also about my sorely missed grandparents, and the girls have seen dead birds and animals on the road and in nature, so they have some understanding of what death means to the body, and that you no longer see that person.  I think being Christian does help them in understanding and dealing with death, but how they will be affected when death comes closer and more hard-hitting, I don't know.

To help children deal with bereavement, Co-operative Funeralcare have launched a series of short animated films with the aim of helping children aged 7-16 cope with the loss of a loved one.  The four films include Our Year Since Dad Died and Our Year Since Gran Died and look at issues young people face when losing a parent or grandparent.  The films focus on difficult dates such as Mother's Day, Father's Day and a family member's birthday, and provide practical guidelines on how to overcome these hurdles.  Preview the films online to find out more.

To help children and their supporters deal with the difficulties of bereavement, The Co-operative Funeralcare is teaming up with Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing Service (CHUMS) to offer the films as a free resource to local schools, medical professionals, community groups and bereaved families.  The launch of the DVDs follows on from the success of The Co-operative Funeralcare’s Amy and Tom books, which were a tool for bereaved primary school children and distributed free to over 25,000 family liaison officers, schools, bereaved families and medical professionals across the country.

Bereavement is such a difficult subject, and one we are often not equipped to deal with.  Leaving their children behind is many parents greatest fear, but sadly, here in the UK, every year 41,000 dependent children will lose a parent.  And for many more the loss of a grandparent is their first experience of bereavement.

Dawn Hewitt, Chief Executive Officer of CHUMS says:

"We know that grief can feel overwhelming, confusing, painful and lonely. At CHUMS we offer a variety of interventions, in order to support children and young people in their grief when someone close to them has died. Through the medium of animation, the DVDs can help children and young people relate to their own experience and help them recognise that they are not on their own."

“Schools, community groups and specialised bereavement services such as CHUMS all play an important role in supporting bereaved children and young people. Support and resources such as the DVDs can make a profound difference, not only at the time of a child's loss but also for their long term emotional wellbeing and resilience."

The launch follows on from the success of the Co-operative's previous Amy and Tom books, which were a tool for bereaved primary school children.  Over 25,000 copies have been distributed.

As much as we don'tt want us, or our children, to face death, it's good to know that resources and support are available if we do need it.

The short animated films have been produced by Angel Studios and are available for free on request from The Co-operative Funeralcare in your local area.

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