Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has launched a new bereavement support group for children and young people across Birmingham and Sandwell.
‘Growing Together’ is a peer support group aimed at four to 18-year-olds, which is designed to support children after a loved one has died.
Experienced child bereavement workers from the Hospice will be running the sessions, giving children an opportunity to receive specialist support from them and meet other young people who are going through similar situations.
Peer support can be particularly beneficial for children and young people, helping them to understand that they are not alone in their grief. Growing Together aims to increase children’s confidence, support them to manage their own and others’ difficult feelings, and provide a safe space to learn from others and ask questions.
Funded by BBC Children in Need, the group is open to all children and young people living across Birmingham and Sandwell – even if their loved one who died wasn’t supported by the Hospice.
Beth Hopkins, children’s counsellor at Birmingham St Mary’s, said: “The purpose of Growing Together is to help young people navigate the difficult emotions that come with bereavement. Children can grieve very differently from adults – they may find it challenging to express big feelings verbally for example – so at the groups sessions, we’ll be using a number of tools to help communicate emotions in other ways. This may be through art and crafts, through play or by simply giving the young person an opportunity to talk to someone who is a similar age and is going through a similar experience.
“With Growing Together, we want to teach young people the skills and coping mechanisms that will help them when they get upset, feel alone or face difficulties. Grief is not linear – it can remerge as children get older and face significant events – so by teaching children the skills needed to cope with difficult emotions, we can help them become healthy adults.”
Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice provides care and support to local people living with life-limiting illness. It also offers expert support to families, loved ones and carers, providing practical and emotional help during a person’s illness and after their death.