Losing someone important to us can be emotionally devastating - whether that be a partner, family member, friend or pet.
It is natural to go through a range of physical and emotional processes as we gradually come to terms with the loss. Grief doesn’t have a timeline. Just take one step at a time.
What is bereavement? Bereavement is the experience of losing someone important to us. It is characterised by grief, which is the process and the range of emotions we go through as we gradually adjust to the loss.
Bereavement affects everyone in different ways and it's possible to experience any range of emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Everyone reacts in their own way.
How to help a child or young person who has been bereaved
Listen if they want to talk. Don't feel you've got to solve anything or say something. You might feel helpless, but just being there and listening can be really helpful.
Share your memories. If it feels appropriate and you're able to, share your memories of the person who's gone, during a chat, or in a card or letter. For the bereaved person, this can feel like being given back little pieces of the person they've lost.
Don't feel rejected if they don't want you there. They might prefer to have one friend for going out, another to study with and so on. Make allowances for what works for them.
With older children, they might not want to talk at first. Let them know you are concerned about them, and are there if they need you. Sending an email or a text can work better if this is the way your child likes to communicate.
If you’re finding it hard to cope, we can help you find support.
Local organisations offering information and support during difficult times:
Wandsworth Bereavement Service for Children and Young People provides one to one bereavement counselling for parents/carers, children and young people.
This is for residents who live in the borough of Wandsworth, or for those attending schools or local services in the borough.
The service can be used by anyone who:
- has been bereaved;
- has experienced other major losses; or
- is facing an anticipated death.
Please call 020 7223 3178 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website for further information.
Wandsworth's Schools and Community Psychology Service (SCPS) have infographics, resources and links:
National organisations offering information and support during difficult times
NHS - Talking to children and teenagers when someone dies
CRUSE Bereavement Care and Support
Winston's Wish - Support for grieving families
Dying Matters - Talking about death and dying
Young Minds - help with feelings of grief and loss
Rainbow Bridge - Helping children cope with the loss of a pet
Hope Again - for young people coping with grief
Contact - practical support for bereaved parents
Child Bereavement UK National Charity
Memorials of Distinction - information about bereavement leave
National organisations offering information for children, young people and adults additional needs and/or learning difficulties.
National Autistic Society - bereavement information
Mencap - grief support for young people with learning difficulties
Downs Syndrome Association - bereavement factsheet
MIND - Useful links to supporting organisations
Macmillan - Easy read guide about attending a funeral
Beyond Words - Whether supporting somebody with a learning disability or communication difficulty, their resources empower people through pictures