Help is being offered to those struggling to guide children through loss and grief by an Essex undertaker.
Dealing with death or other loss can be difficult for adults to cope with, so those responsible for young people can face an even bigger minefield.
EastEnders is tackling the topic with a storyline where three young children have lost their mothers – Ronnie and Roxie Mitchell – leaving their father struggling to know how to comfort them.
The Government is considering placing a mental health counsellor into every secondary school in England, while NHS England is working with schools which have appointed specific members of staff to liaise directly with local mental health services.
This work demonstrates the need to give children and young people further support when dealing with issues of loss, from death and illness to divorce and adoption.
Secure Haven Independent Funeral Directors, in Margaretting, is launching a new service to help adults who are charged with comforting children in their care.
Paul Yarwood, CEO, is contacting schools, corporate HR departments, doctors’ surgeries, community groups, care homes and charities to offer the Helping Children Deal with Loss programme.
The Grief Recovery Specialist, whose business partner and wife Cheryl is also qualified, will assist teachers and others working with children to find the right words to use and to spot the signs of a child struggling to cope with loss.
He said: “It can be very hard to know what to say when confronted by anyone who has suffered a loss, let alone children. So often, the first words people offer are ‘everything will be ok’, ‘time is a healer’ or ‘be strong’. Unfortunately, these are not the most helpful things to say and can stop a conversation in its tracks and prevent an opportunity for the bereaved person to open up and talk.
“Children can see mum or dad getting upset or angry when they’ve lost someone, but often nobody is talking the children through it.
“Also, the way we explain death to a child can have far-reaching consequences. If you tell a child their loved one has gone to sleep, for example, it may result in that child becoming frightened of going to sleep themselves in future.
“We are looking to arm people with the tools to speak with someone who is bereaved.”
The six-week programme uses the textbook When Children Grieve to give the correct information which can make a difference to a young person’s progress and wellbeing.
To discuss the programme, contact 01277 356857.