Supporting a child through grief, or when someone in their life is dying, can be a really difficult position for a parents or carer to be in.
Sometimes children don’t always have the words to tell us how their feeling, or if they’re not okay and they show us through their behaviour. We hear lots of schools and parents or carers tell us their child’s behaviour has changed.
Lots of children may have questions about the person who has died or is unwell that are tricky to answer. You may also be struggling with grief and not know the answers or what to say when they ask. Sometimes parent or carers feel like they need to be strong for their child and aren’t too sure on the right thing to do.
There are no right or wrong ways to grieve, although if you are needing a little bit of support as a family, you can contact Jeremiah’s Journey on 01752 424348 so we can think about a referral to our service.
"My sons were referred to Jeremiah’s Journey when my dad died suddenly, almost 20 years ago now when the charity was just starting out. Absolutely brilliant service run by really caring and highly qualified bereavement counsellors."
Tracey George, January 2021
Children from Plymouth and the immediate surrounding area are put in touch with us for support when they have experienced or are anticipating the death of someone special.
This is often a call into the charity’s first Steps Advisory line. We usually begin with a conversation with each family. For some this might offer enough reassurance or ideas to help. Where a family would like more, then an initial home visit is usually offered so that we can hear how things have been and decide together, how we can be of most help.
The types of support that we offer
When we read a referral and get in touch, first it’s with a parent or carer and then with their children or the young person with their parent/carer around. These contacts can be over the phone or in person and we decide where to meet as part of our conversation. It has to be safe and comfortable, so it might be at home or in our private room where we work. We have them to get an idea of how the whole family are doing, so that we can plan what to do next with that big picture in mind.
Short Term Group Programme – when someone special has died.
Many of the children who we meet, say that they feel alone in their grief because they feel like they are the only one in their class or school who has been bereaved. Attending one of the group programmes means that they meet other children who have been through something similar and truly understand the impact a bereavement can have. We run three short term therapeutic group programmes each year during school term times. Sessions are held on weekly basis during the evening and we have separate groups for primary school aged children, secondary school aged young people and their parents/carers. The sessions use creative activities to enable the children to: express their feelings of grief; share their memories and explore ways of coping. The aim is that children come away with skills and items that will be helpful for now and the future. At the end of each programme we provide a day trip for all of the families and hold a review session where they can reflect on their experience of our service, this helps us to develop what we do.
Individual or Family Sessions
Where a group is not appropriate because the family have specific or complex needs, we offer one to one work or family therapy. These sessions are still based on the same principles and may still use some of the same creative activities.
We offer some individual sessions to those parents/carers who need the space to consider their own grieving in order to better support their children.
Launched in January 2021, our new group offers young people the opportunity to get to know and connect with other young people who have been bereaved, while engaging in activities based around building resilience, wellbeing and having fun, supported by a member of the Jeremiah’s Journey Bereavement Services Team. It runs once a month and is open to any young person aged between 9 and 12 who has been bereaved, whether they have worked with us before or not.
Asking for advice
We are available to be contacted by families and professionals by calling 01752 424348 or by emailing the bereavement services team at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Due to our staff currently having to work from home, anyone wishing to receive any advice should ring 01752 424348 and leave a message. This will be picked up by one of the team and dealt with as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience that this causes.