Most of us will have experienced the death of someone close to us during our lifetime and for lots of people, the burden of grief doesn’t get any easier as time goes by. To navigate grief as an adult is difficult enough. To do so as a child, when you have no previous experience to call upon, can be truly overwhelming.
This week is national Grief Awareness Week and throughout it, we will be highlighting the support available for children and young people across the county who have sadly experienced the death of someone close to them. Regardless of who has died, the heaviness of their absence can be profound. We cannot underestimate the impact, nor the potential for loss to be a trigger for other mental health issues as a young person grows into adulthood.
If you are a parent or carer of a young person and you have experienced a loss as a family, you might not know how best to support your child as you both grieve. One of the most important things you can do is encourage them to express how they are feeling. This could be by talking to you or to a professional and there are lots of services that can help locally. A good place to start if you’re not sure who to contact is your GP who will be able to advise you about the services where you live. Encouraging your child to share how they are feeling can often be the first step to them being better able to cope with their loss.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the mental health of children and young people across the country. The loss of someone close to them during it will have only heightened this for some children and young people. However, as the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years, I remain committed to making sure that every young person in Essex has the emotional support to not only recover from their experiences, but to develop new ways of coping and to go on to thrive.
While loss is a part of life, it doesn’t make it any easier to cope with. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to experience grief and how we get through it will differ from person to person. However, whether young or old, it is vital that we do not try to manage it alone.
Find out more about the emotional support available for children and young people in Essex.