Dealing with death is sadly a universal thing, yet it can be hard talking to someone who is not experiencing the same feelings.
Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone outside your own circle of family and friends, sharing memories, good and bad, with someone who is able to listen.
As lead nurse bereavement and donor support at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Helen Bradley was working with families who had nowhere to turn when supporting children.
So she set up CAYP (Children, Adults and Young People) Bereavement Support Group at Royal Preston Hospital in 2013, providing a safe place for all age groups to express thoughts and feelings at what can be a sad and frightening time. The organisation is now known as simply Bereavement Support Group (BSG).
She explains: “I identified gaps in bereavement care for sudden deaths and for children who had been bereaved.
“Two of the volunteers had personal experience of this when sudden death occurred in their families and they struggled to find support for the children.”
BSG offers a sympathetic ear and a chance to offload feelings in a safe environment through its monthly meetings.
The meetings are informal with a topic to focus on then opportunity for peer support through free discussion. There is also the opportunity for individual bereavement support sessions and telephone support to be arranged.
The group is unique in the service offered as it has both adult and children and young people’s support sessions which meet on the same night in separate rooms of the same venue.
This allows children and young people to explore how they feel in a caring and non-judgemental environment.
Helen adds: “The group’s philosophy is support for all members of the family regardless of how the person died.
“Supporting and empowering the adults helps them to support any children and young people effected and the separate meetings at the BSG are tailored for each age group and all sessions are held in the same venue at the same time.
“Helping people of all ages work through their grief in a healthy way enables coping. Holding the groups allows people to meet with others who have gone through similar experiences this allows them in a way to support one another safely in a tailored environment with trained facilitators.”
Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at Heartbeat, Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, from 6pm until 7.30pm.
Anyone wishing to attend can call 01772 523730.
Individual bereavement support sessions and telephone support are also available by arrangement.
For more information visit http://www.lancsteachinghospitals.nhs.uk/cayp
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