Friday, 17 April 2015

Helping children who are suddenly bereaved

Every year in the UK, hundreds of people die suddenly, leaving families devastated.  Disasters such as road accidents, murder, suicide, heart attack and other fatal illnesses can affect anyone.

Bereavement is a difficult subject and the sad reality is that in the UK a parent of a dependent child will die every 22 minutes, leaving 41,000 children without a parent each year. In addition to this, currently in the UK 309,000 children aged between five and 16 years old have been bereaved of a parent or sibling.

If tragedy were to strike and you lost your partner, your parents (your child's grandparents), one of your children (your child's sibling), or your child suddenly lost a school friend how would you cope?  How would you ensure that both your own grief and that of your child was handled effectively? Perhaps you're a godparent or a named guardian in a friend's will - how would you cope if you found yourself caring for a child who'd been suddenly bereaved?  Where would you turn?

The Co-operative Funeral Care have partnered with CHUMS (the Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing Service) to offer the a number of films as a free resource to local schools, medical professionals, community groups and bereaved families. The four animated films include ‘Our Year Since Dad Died’ and ‘Our Year Since Grandma Died’ and look at issues young people face when losing a parent or grandparent. 

The launch follows on from the success of The Co-operative Funeralcare’s Amy and Tom books, which are 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.

The tools deal practically with an array of issues a child may face including:

  • Disbelief and denial
  • Shock
  • Managing new and strong feelings
  • Dealing with the 'why' questions
  • Explaining the role of A&E and the emergency services and how and why they may not have been able to save the person
  • Coping with the trauma of witnessing the death or incident
  • Survivor guilt
  • What happens with organ donation
  • Dealing with whether to see the body
  • What happens at a funeral
  • What happens after death
  • Fear that others will die

The Co-operative Funeralcare is the only organisation in the UK to make the animated films available free of charge to key people and organisations in a position to support bereaved children such as teachers, medical professionals and community leaders.  

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.





Disclosure: This post has been written in association with The Co-operative Funeralcare.

45 comments:

  1. Such an important initiative. We could all learn from it.

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    1. It's good to see someone helping in this way.

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  2. It is so nice to see the child being considered. In my experience there's nothing being provided for children - but the last loss was quite a while ago now. I lost my brother when I was 3, my brother lost his mother when he was 14, and my son was 2. We have a charity called Winston's Wish around here and I have heard that they provide an excellent service.

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    1. Hopefully things have hanged for the better now and children are receiving the support they need.

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  3. This seems so important - it's something that has been neglected in the past.

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  4. There needs to be more for bereaved kids. This sounds like a really good service they are providing x

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  5. More support for bereaved children is needed, such an important resource

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  6. Great post, I totally agree. Many assume kids just deal with these things, but they often need a huge amount of support.

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  7. I found this a little difficult to read as I lost my brother when I was younger and we got very little support as a family. I often think the children are forgotten about when there's a death. This sounds like a great initiative

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    1. Oh Donna I'm so sorry to hear that and that you didn't get the support you needed.

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  8. Those stats are really quite shocking aren't they? Great that someone is out there trying to help x

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    1. Quite a stark reality when you see the figures right?

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  9. Great post, and such an important issue to be recognised x

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  10. What an important thing to be helping with - I can't imagine how it must feel to suddenly lose those you love at a young age. x

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    1. Exactly, and the long term emotional damage that can be caused if they don't get the right support.

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  11. This is a great initiative, something you don't really want to think about but crucial when the worst happens x

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    1. Exactly, it's all too easy to think 'it won't happen to us'.

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  12. What an astonishing statistic! I had no idea it was so high, but I suppose, when you think about it, an awful lot of the population do have children. I am glad these resources are available, it's heartbreaking to think what those poor youngsters have to cope with.

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    1. It's a sobering thought isn't it.

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  13. This is so needed. We are lucky to have an amazing charity here in Glos too which is Winstons Wish. I have taught many children who have lost a parent and it is heart breaking and makes you appreciate exactly what you have.

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    1. That's the second time I've heard Winston's Wish mentioned, they must be doing good things.

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  14. I agree, this is such a conversation that is needed x

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    1. It's such a difficult subject to even think about so it's great to see they're tackling it head-on.

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  15. This sounds like an important and great service. More support is definitely needed for children that have lost a loved one x

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  16. awww i love that they are tackling this so head on, I would not wish being in this position on my worst enemy so for a child its one of the most horrific things to face ... well done Co-Op Funeral care!

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  17. I love how gently proactive this is of the Co-Op Funeralcare. I take Kit and Ozzy for walks in our local churchyard from time to time and that's a lovely way of offering an opportunity for children to ask questions they have and to approach the topic of death before they even know of anyone who has died x

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    1. That's a really good way of opening up the discussion. It's such a surreal subject for them when they're young.

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  18. This is such a great idea. I remember really struggling to explain death to my (at the time) three-year old daughter when her Nonna died. This resource would have been very helpful.

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    1. That must have been very hard, I'm sorry x

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  19. aw great post this is something i think is improtant to help children with , people sometimes forget that when they lose a fami;y member the younger children get pushed to one side and forgotton about as if they dont know the pain of the adults but in respect usually feel just as much pain and sorrow

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    1. Yes absolutely, you may have your own grief to deal with, but it's great to know there's tools out there to help the children get through it.

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  20. We lost my step-mothers father over the easter break which, although they were not close, has brought up a lot of questions

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    1. Sorry to hear that Kara. You can call your local Co-operative Funeralcare and request a copy if it will help. x

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  21. We find talking about death so difficult often that it gives our kids little preparation, really lovely to see a company offer some practical advice as we often only have to deal with it when in the midst of our own grief.

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  22. A really great service about something that isn't talked about enough.

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  23. More companies should talk about it; there is a huge need for more and more support

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  24. Such a difficult concept for little ones to come to terms with, anything that makes it easier is a help.

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  25. I know that in schools in my area they have a thing called Sandy Bear - a group who talks to littlies about this. I can't even think about it :( x

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