THE BLOG

Talking About Bereavement

20/05/2015 21:25 BST | Updated 20/05/2016 10:59 BST

The loss of a parent, sister or brother is a devastating event in any child's life. The impact of bereavement can have consequences that last a lifetime, which is why it is vital that the young people affected get the right support at the right time.

Without this support, some children can struggle to understand, and cope with the effects of what has happened. Often children can feel different, misunderstood and isolated from their peers due to the experience. This is why the work we fund in this area is so vital.

In the last year BBC Children in Need has funded 58 projects across the UK working with children who have suffered a loss. This work has reached over 6,000 young people facing trauma and supported them at this critical time.

The projects make a difference to children by building children's confidence and self-esteem, supporting them to understand the emotional and physical effects grief can have. Children learn that they are not alone and gain the confidence to speak up and raise concerns with others.

We can't change the fact of the death in the family, but we can help children in the process of grieving, remembering and moving forward with their lives.

I'd like to share with you Mason's story - Mason is 16 years old.

On New Year's Day in 2012, Mason witnessed his father's death. The house was full with his two sisters and mum, and it had been a normal happy day. After a chat in Mason's bedroom, his father told Mason how much he loved him, and they both went downstairs to watch television together. But his father suffered heart failure and fell to the floor. Although his mum tried to resuscitate him, he had died by the time the ambulance arrived.

Mason was very close to his father - he'd give anything to spend one more second with him.

Luckily, The Laura Centre was able to help Mason. Counselling helped him focus on positive memories of his dad, and helped him to understand and make sense of his own feelings. Practising how to talk about difficult things meant he could have important conversations with family and friends.

Over the course of therapy Mason's self-confidence and ability to control his emotions and behaviour grew. His concentration and grades improved, his relationships with his family provided him with more support and he started re-building and making new relationships with his peers. His grief about his dad was still there, but no longer dominated by the traumatic circumstances of his death.

The Laura Centre specialises in counselling children who have lost a parent or other significant person in their lives and BBC Children in Need funds the salaries of three counsellors who help bereaved children come to terms with their loss.

Fortunately, deaths in the family are not common, but they are also not rare. Across the UK a child loses a parent about every 22 minutes, which emphasises how important it is that the right support is in place when it is needed.

We can only be there thanks to our incredible donors, fundraising and partners and they should feel truly proud of what they make possible.