Help And Advice2017-03-08T16:28:16+00:00

Help and Advice

When people are grieving, it’s often really hard to know what to say or do.
Below is some advice that we hope you find helpful.

How friends can help

If one of your friends has been bereaved, you may have a mixture of feelings. You might feel sorry for them, you might feel relieved for them, you might feel frightened or sad yourself, and you might not be sure how to help.

Here are some things which a group of bereaved young people working with Seasons for Growth (Scotland) suggested might be helpful for friends to do. You could print off the suggestions and ask your friend which ones they’d like you to do. Remember that what they want might change as time goes on. Your support will help, although it may not always appear so.

To my friend, please…

  • …be yourself and be my friend – even if you don’t know what to do or say. Just knowing you are there helps me.
  • Ask me how I am feeling – even though I may not always be able to tell you.
  • Talk to me about getting back into school. Meeting me somewhere each day might help.
  • Ask me if I want to talk about what has happened, and don’t worry if I get upset, it helps knowing you care.
  • Give me a break if I’m acting a bit strangely. I’m feeling very confused right now.
  • Sometimes I may feel lonely. If you phone, text or visit me I’ll know you are thinking about me even though I may need time alone.
  • Carry on talking to me about what you are doing – even if I don’t seem to be listening.
  • Give me a hug if you think I need one.
  • Listen to me if you can – it helps me to get stuff off my chest and makes me feel better
  • Help me to have fun and laugh sometimes. This does not mean I am ‘over it’ or have forgotten my feelings for the person.
  • Try to understand if I may not always feel like joining in just now – but please don’t stop asking me.
  • Talk to me about getting help from an adult if you are really worried about me.
  • Stand up for me if I’m having a hard time.
  • Ask me if there is anything you can do if you notice I’m having a bad day.

Reproduced with kind permission of the Childhood Bereavement Network

How parents and carers can help

Supporting a bereaved child can be exhausting and bewildering, particularly if you are grieving yourself. It may be helpful for you to know more about bereavement in childhood, and to find sources of local  and national  support.
A group of bereaved children and young people working with Seasons for Growth (Scotland)  a CBN Subscriber, have come up with a list of suggestions about how parents and carers could support their bereaved child. Your child may find some of these approaches helpful: you could print them off and talk about which ones might work for you both now and in the future.

To my parent or carer, please…

  • …talk to me honestly and explain about what has happened in a way I can understand. I may need more information and reassurance.
  • Talk to me about the funeral and how I can be included. It will help me to remember and say goodbye. Try to include me in decisions and give me choices.
  • Inform the school about my loss and find out who I can talk to in school if I need some help. Help me get back into school by talking to me about what additional support I may need. It may be difficult for me to leave home.
  • Notice if I am feeling lonely and find out about groups for children and young people coping with loss and change.
  • Remind me that I am not to blame and that it’s not my fault although I may need to talk about this.
  • Help me keep memories alive by talking and remembering, especially on anniversaries. There will be things I need to remember and others that I want to forget.
  • Let me keep something that belonged to………..[the person who has died].
  • Give me a hug.
  • Help me to have fun and laugh sometimes. This does not mean I am ‘over it, have ‘forgotten’ or ‘couldn’t care’.
  • Give me space but talk to me if you are worried I am not eating properly or having sleep or other problems, so we can do something about it together.
  • Arrange for me/us to get extra help if I am feeling stuck and overwhelmed.
Please understand that this is for now and my needs will change. Please check up on this as time moves on. Thanks for reading and for trying these. They do help me although it may not always appear so.

Reproduced with kind permission of the Childhood Bereavement Network

School staff and early years practitioners – how you can help

Up to 70% schools have a bereaved pupil on roll at any one time. Many staff members feel anxious about supporting a bereaved pupil in school or early years settings, or addressing bereavement and loss in the curriculum, but there are resources available to help so do ask us at Touchstones for advice and support.

Tips from pupils about how to help
Showing that you care about what has happened and how they are affected, and listening to their needs are some of the most helpful things you can do for a bereaved pupil.

A group of bereaved pupils working with Seasons for Growth (Scotland) have come up with a list of suggestions for support. Your pupil may find some of these approaches helpful and printing off the list to discuss with them will help you to open up conversations with them and their family. Remember that their needs will change and you may need to check that the support you are giving is still appropriate as time moves on. Your support will help, although it may not always appear so.

Pupils say…

  • Inform other teachers, especially supply teachers about my loss although I may not wish to talk to them about it. Keep this on record.
  • Talk to me about what has happened. I may need more information, advice and education about loss.
  • Arrange for me to get extra help with my work so I don’t get behind, especially before exams.
  • Realise that I have a lot on my plate. Try not to put the spotlight on me too much. I will participate when I can.
  • Help me to cope by treating me the same as everyone else.
  • Let me know about groups for children and young people who are also coping with loss and change.
  • Ask me how I am feeling. It may not be obvious.
  • Give me a note that allows me permission to leave class briefly, without having to explain myself if I feel overwhelmed.
  • Understand that I will not ‘get over it’ or ‘put it behind me’ but with time I will learn to cope with all the changes.
  • Give me extra encouragement for all the things I am managing to do and keep me in mind.
  • Find a way of getting my attention back in class, without others noticing and making me embarrassed.
  • Wait until I am ready to talk.
  • Remember that I am still me, just feeling a bit lost at the moment.
  • Help me to find new dreams of the future and make plans.

Reproduced with kind permission of the Childhood Bereavement Network

Training in Schools for Students: Supporting young lives and preventing problems.

Death can be hard to comprehend at any age but children who have never encountered it before are unlikely to have the information that they need to understand what has happened. If a child has a friend who has been bereaved they may have a mixture of feelings. They may feel sorry for them, or they may feel relieved for them, they themselves could feel frightened or sad and they may not be sure how they can help.

Our training options for students include:
– Whole School and Year Group Assemblies.
– Design and delivery of PSHE sessions.

Our Peer Mentor Programme is a training package designed for schools that helps to prepare children to support a friend or peer through a bereavement. The training is delivered in six 1hr sessions and can be delivered either in lesson slots, at lunchtime or after school. The course encourages the students to:

  • Examine issues of loss and bereavement.
  • Help raise awareness of emotional difficulties which arise in young people e.g. isolation, vulnerability and bullying.
  • Explore practical ways of dealing with emotions such as anger.
  • Develop transferable communication skills.
  • Discuss how they might support a peer experiencing difficulties in a compassionate and enabling way.

Training is delivered using a variety of methods including practical activities, DVDs, group exercises and presentations and is designed for up to a maximum of 18 students. There is no charge made for the training of your students however we do ask the students if they would be happy to organise a fundraising event for us which contributes to the Every Child Matters outcome to ‘Make a positive contribution’, forms a fun and great way to support your local charity and an excellent team-building activity for your school community.

“Our students now have a better understanding of how people feel at this difficult time.”
“I now understand how to keep memories alive and why this is done.”
“The training experience was really useful; I really enjoyed it and wish I could do more!”

Training in Schools for Senior Managers, Teachers and Teaching Assistants

Up to 70% of Schools have a bereaved pupil on roll at any one time. Many staff members feel anxious about supporting a bereaved pupil in school or addressing bereavement and loss in the curriculum. We are able to offer you resources, training and support to help you in this sensitive area of work.

We are aware that schools must realise that Every Child Matters and our programmes will contribute to at least the following outcomes:

  • Be healthy:     Mentally and emotionally healthy, healthy lifestyles.
  • Stay safe:        Safe from bullying and discrimination.
  • Enjoy and achieve:     Attend and enjoy school, achieve personal and social development and enjoy recreation.
  • Make a positive contribution:    Engage in decision-making and support the community and environment, develop positive relationships and choose not to bully and discriminate, develop self-confidence and successfully deal with significant life changes and challenges.

Full day/half day training sessions are available for Senior Managers, Teachers and Teaching Assistants.

The following are some of the options:

  • A training package providing understanding around the grieving process and tools that can be used in lesson delivery for the personal, social and health education programme.
  • After school staff training.
  • Full and half days training.
  • Design and delivery of PSHE sessions.
  • Bespoke training to your specific needs, situation and requirements.
  • Support and advice in developing school policies to Major Incidents and Crises.
  • Full days training session covering how to create and implement a Critical Incident Policy and how to continue offering bereavement support within the School community.

Costs for the above training options are as follows:
£250 for two 2 hour after School training sessions for school staff with a maximum of 10 delegates.
£250 for a half days training with a maximum of 10 delegates.
£500 for a half days training with a maximum of 20 delegates
£500 for a full days training with a maximum of 10 delegates.
£1000 for a full days training with a maximum of 20 delegates.

These costs include consultation, design and delivery of all courses. The courses are usually offered in your own school (or other training venue provided by yourselves). If your requirements differ from those above please feel free to contact us to discuss your needs and budget.
To discuss your requirements or to make a booking please contact Vicki Quarton on 07547 367267 or email us at info@touchstones-support.org.uk

“Excellent training, would definitely recommend to others.”
“The training really helped me gain a new understanding and insight.”