When we realise that 41% of young offenders have experienced a family bereavement in the childhood (Winstons Wish @winstonswish the charity established to support bereaved children) it makes us realise how important it is that we support children who face bereavement, as it really will transform life outcomes. Whilst children may not be the face of this pandemic they risk being among its biggest victims. They have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of COVID-19 – at least to date – yet the crisis is having a profound effect on their wellbeing (Policy Brief, The impact of Covid19 on Children, UN 2020 https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/policy_brief_on_covid_impact_on_children_16_april_2020.pdf). The impact of bereavement in childhood is an element we must pay attention to, particularly as the physical face to face support of schools is missing currently.
As adults how we break life changing news to children matters, there’s some valuable information on @RCPCH Covid19 pages on how to do this from the University of Oxford https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2020-04/how_to_tell_children_that_someone_has_died_final.pdf that we can signpost people to, its a hugely daunting task that people value support with.
Ongoing conversations and sharing positive memories matter tremendously. I recall us all as a family sitting and crying together as we read ‘Badgers Parting Gifts’ when my husband’s mum died, it was a moment of unity in great sadness. The added complexity of social isolation makes loss even harder than ever and this beautiful animation summarises this powerfully ‘Saying goodbye’ https://vimeo.com/407701292 by @WillisBelfast and the Child Bereavement Network provide a range of resources http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/
@NHSEngland also bring together contacts that are helpful, including:
- Child Bereavement UK – call 0800 028 8840 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cruse Bereavement Care – call 0808 808 1677 Monday and Friday, 9.30am to 5pm, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am to 8pm, or email email@example.com
- Grief Encounter – call 0808 802 0111Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hope Again – call 0808 808 1677 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm, or email email@example.com
- Winston’s Wish – call 0808 802 0021Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How we signpost families to support during this intense period of loss will change children’s lives, we can’t change what has happened, but how we care, talk and act will be remembered forever ….