05 May 2021

New resources for schools, colleges and practitioners supporting traumatically bereaved children and young people

The UK Trauma Council (UKTC) and three child bereavement charities - Child Bereavement UK, Winston’s Wish and the Childhood Bereavement Network - have today (5 May) launched a new portfolio of free, evidence-based resources including online videos for school staff, bereavement services and NHS mental health services supporting children and young people.

The resources are designed to give staff the knowledge to recognise traumatic bereavement, advice on how to put appropriate support in place, and guidance on how to refer on to more specialist services.

The UKTC and the three charities are appealing for more awareness of childhood traumatic bereavement, particularly in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, which has created situations in which a death comes unexpectedly, without the chance to say goodbye, or where family members feel guilt that they may have brought the virus into the home. These factors may increase the likelihood of a traumatic bereavement, where trauma gets in the way of the process of grieving by affecting a child or young person’s ability to ‘make sense’ of the death and adjust to their loss.

David Trickey, Co-Director of the UKTC, explains: “Traumatically bereaved children and young people experience significant distress and difficulties, over and above a more typical grief. Traumatic bereavement may be easily missed or misunderstood, meaning that children’s difficulties are not recognised by even the most supportive adults including parents, teachers and bereavement practitioners. It is vital that these children are identified and given the appropriate help and support.”

Established and hosted by the Anna Freud Centre, The UK Trauma Council is a multi-disciplinary group of leading experts in research, policy and practice from all four nations of the UK who, with their own experience and expertise rather than representing individual organisations, aim to use their knowledge to empower professionals and local communities in supporting children and young people by providing resources, guidance and training. CELCIS’s Health Lead, Marian Flynn, is one of two representatives from Scotland.

The resources are distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund and funded by the UK’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund.