Covid-19 Bereavement Support for Children and Young People aged 4-19
Like adults, the lives of children and young people have been turned upside down with schools, clubs and activities closing and opportunities to meet with friends restricted. Many young people are already feeling isolated, confused and lost; and losing someone you love suddenly and unexpectedly in this context can be particularly complex and hard to come to terms with.
Experiencing different emotions when grieving is normal and having someone to talk to about how you feel can be very helpful.
To support children and young people in Kent who experience complicated grief as a result of Covid-19 we have extended our children and young people’s counselling service to include bereavement support. This offer has been specifically tailored to the different circumstances that children now find themselves in and the provision will aim to reduce the long term impact, particularly on emotional wellbeing and mental health, from this trauma event.
Who the service for?
- The service is for 4 to 19 years-old living in Kent who have lost a loved one to Covid-19. The virtual programme of bereavement support will include the provision of strategies and information for families or carers to help them support their grieving child.
- Children and young people common reactions to grief and loss can include anxiety, sleep difficulties, sadness and longing, anger and acting out behaviour, guilt, self-reproach and shame and school problems. Some children might show regressive behaviour, social isolation, fantasies, personality changes, pessimism about the future, preoccupation with cause and meaning, as a result of being bereaved.
Who do I refer to the service?
- Referrals (including self-referrals) can be made via the Single Point of Access at the online portal at https://www.kentcht.nhs.uk/service/school-health/ or by calling 0300 123 4496. Please refer any child or young people that could benefit from the service.
How do I access further information?
- Further information is available on the service website at https://www.kentcht.nhs.uk/service/school-health/counselling-and-emotional-health/
How can I support grieving children, young people and families in my work role?
- There are a number of resources to support families to cope with bereavement and grief at: Practical and Emotional Wellbeing Support Following Bereavement
- Further information to support and resources to support children and young people’s emotional wellbeing is also available at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeingfamilies This includes coping with bereavement and grief.
Are there any other services available to offer support?
- There are a number of local and national Voluntary and Community Sector bereavement organisations that play a critical role in supporting children and families. Further information is available at Practical and Emotional Wellbeing Support Following Bereavement. KCC and KCHFT have reached out to these organisations to recognise this role and encourage continued support for families, particularly families who have suffered a bereavement that is not related to Covid-19.
- School staff are able to access the Crisis Support Service, led by Education Psychologists, in order to support bereaved children. Further information is available at https://www.kelsi.org.uk/special-education-needs/educational-psychology/crisis-support-serviceand the service can be contacted on 03000 410250 or at Educational.firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a number of other services that support young people’s emotional wellbeing that can be accessed across Kent. These can be accessed directly and include;
- A new text service for children, young people and adults needing immediate mental health support. This can be accessed by texting the word “Kent” to 85258. This is a 24/7 text service provided by SHOUT and the Crisis Text Line as part of the Kent and Medway Release the Pressure campaign.
- An online wellbeing hub at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeing which provides self-help advice and links to local support services to help people’s mental wellbeing during the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic crisis. This is regularly being updated to provide additional support.
- Kooth is a mental health and wellbeing online platform for young people aged 10 to 16 available across the whole of Kent. The service is free and can be accessed at www.kooth.com. It’s a place to get advice, information and support 24/7. Young people can chat to a friendly qualified counsellor Monday to Friday between 12 noon and 10pm and Saturday and Sunday between 6pm and 10pm.
- Accessing www.moodspark.org.uk if you are a young person or www.kentresiliencehub.org.uk if you are a professional, parent or carer to learn about mental health and find tips and resources to keep emotionally healthy.
- Accessing the Big White Wall if aged 16+ for anonymous support through https://www.bigwhitewall.com/
- Calling the Single Point of Access (SPA) on 0300 123 4496 for support regarding mental health if you are not sure what help is needed.