We have an excellent track record of providing post-bereavement support to children and young people.
We now want to bring our support forward to include the pre-bereavement stage when there is a known anticipated death. No one else provides one to one pre-bereavement support in our area.
Parental bereavement places children at a hugely increased risk of negative outcomes, such as poor educational engagement and poor mental health. We want to support the most vulnerable pre-bereaved children who have numerous stressors and few protective factors in their lives – e.g. drug and alcohol related terminal diagnoses, children in care.
We know that by intervening where possible in the pre-bereavement stage, the outcomes for vulnerable children, including their ability to recover and be adaptive, are greatly enhanced.
Every family is unique. The model we are developing is flexible but typically includes support around three issues:
- Working with the primary carers to think through how and when to tell their children that one of them is going to die
- Supporting the dying person to create precious memories to leave behind for their children
- 1:1 support for the children, where they are safe to process feelings and concerns without judgement
Any money raised will be used to support children as they prepare for the death of someone they love. The practical difference we want to make is to facilitate healthy adaptive childhood grieving for pre-bereaved children, where they are able to slowly commit to new relationships, even though the person who is dying cannot be replaced; where they can move ahead in a healthy developmental trajectory whilst being supported to mourn their loss.