Helping children to grieve

Health Minister Simon Hamilton joins Irene Knox of Libraries NI and Brenda Hale MLA to welcome children's grief awareness materials into libraries from Beverley Brown of Funeral Services Northern Ireland

Health Minister Simon Hamilton joins Irene Knox of Libraries NI and Brenda Hale MLA to welcome children's grief awareness materials into libraries from Beverley Brown of Funeral Services Northern Ireland

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Lisburn Library are providing children’s grief awareness materials as part of Children’s Grief Awareness Day which takes place on Thursday November 19.

There will be books and DVDs to help children who suddenly find themselves bereaved, cope.

One book focuses on Amy and Tom, who have been suddenly bereaved, and it provides information about their strong feelings and how to cope; information about what happens after a sudden death and questions that stimulate discussion. The book is fully illustrated and is accompanied by a teacher’s guide entitled ‘Helping Suddenly Bereaved Children’.

Animated DVDs looks at a year since the loss of dad, mum, grandad and gran and has been created to help parents, teachers, carers, child therapists, counsellors, social workers and other professionals work with this sensitive subject in a way that appeals to children from the ages of 7 to 16.

Health Minister Simon Hamilton, welcomed the initiative.

“At this traumatic time, effective support is essential and these materials provided by Funeral Services Northern Ireland are an excellent example of a support tool which has been specifically tailored to help primary children, up to the age of 16, understand and deal with this situation,” he said.

“Sadly, sometimes events unfold that lead to the loss of a loved one. Each loss leaves behind grieving friends and families and this can have a devastating impact on family members and friends, irrespective of age.”

Beverley Brown of Funeral Services Northern Ireland said: “Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult and upsetting for anyone and can be even more confusing for a child. It is a sad reality that so many children are bereaved each year and it is so important that we have the tools and the guidance to help and support them in opening up and dealing with their grief.

“We have been distributing Amy and Tom books to families and schools for a number of years and this year we wanted to widen the reach out and support local bereaved families across Lisburn as much as we possibly can.

Amy and Tom has been funded by Co-op Funeralcare. Funeral Services NI has 20 homes across Northern Ireland. For information on obtaining a copy of a dvd or the Amy and Tom book, contact your local library or Joanne Barrie at Funeral Services NI joanne.barrie@fsni.info