Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week 2022 on our Promotional Assets page.
The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network
The ICBN is a member organisation whose members share a vision that all children and young people, together with the adults in their lives, can easily access a choice of high-quality local and national information, guidance and support to enable them to manage the impact of death on their lives.
Every November, the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) organise a series of events across Ireland to highlight bereaved children’s needs and provide a voice for them to be heard.
Children are the “hidden mourners” in our society they feel the loss over a lifetime, and in different ways: as they grow and learn to understand the real meaning of death and loss. Every child has different needs, perspectives and understandings of what death means.
Please find a selection of resources and graphics for use in workplaces and communities to raise awareness about
How can families and friends show their support?
Acknowledge that the loss is important and that it matters.
Listen to their thoughts, feelings and opinions. Let them know it is OK to ask questions.
Give age-appropriate information.
Maintain day-to-day routine as much as possible.
If things have to change, include the child in decisions, explain the changes and reassure them.
If they want to, let the child participate in the goodbye rituals.
Make sure they need to know it’s OK not to be sad all the time.
Give them time to show their feelings, even anger, which can be an expression of deep hurt and unfairness.
Let them talk about their relationship with the person who has died.
As the child matures, they may need new ‘explanations’, which can involve revisiting the loss and what it means.
They need to know that they are not to blame; anything they thought or said did not cause the death.
With sudden deaths, where there is no opportunity to say goodbye, they may be angry or act out in protest.
Meeting other bereaved children can help them see that they are not alone.
Help them develop coping strategies and resilience to live with loss.
Reassure them that they are loved and will be cared for no matter how difficult grief is for the family.
With good support, most children will not need professional help.
Grief is a unique process for each person and does not follow a set sequence or timetable and, as such, difficulties can either arise immediately or wax and wane over a prolonged period of time. For some, the grief process may be relatively short lived before establishing an adjustment to their new set of circumstances, while for others there may be ongoing struggles with this adjustment.
Symptoms of Bereavement
Shock and disbelief
Feeling emotionally numb
Changes in appetite
When To Get Help For Bereavement?
If you grief is impacting your ability to live your everyday life in a way that feels most healthy, then it’s recommended to seek out help sooner rather than later. No matter how long you’ve been grieving, it is never too late to start talk therapy.
What Is Stigma?
Stigma has been described as a sign of disgrace which distinguishes a person from others.
In the context of mental health, it usually involves using negative labels to identify people as different.
Stigma against those with mental health difficulties takes many forms, from unkind words and social exclusion to higher insurance premiums.
This results in the person feeling devalued and may lead them to isolate themselves and conceal their mental health difficulty.
Mental health stigma thrives on lack of knowledge and understanding, negative attitudes and hostile or discriminatory behaviours.
About Stigma and Mental Health
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will experience mental health difficulty, meaning we may all be affected differently.
For some people, the stigma and discrimination associated with a significant mental health problem are almost as challenging to manage as the experience of being unwell.
Stigma can be a barrier to seeking support as people fear being labelled mentally ill.
Feeling labelled and excluded can lead to feelings of isolation and make the experience of mental health difficulties much worse.
Psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression are perceived as lifelong labels that mark the person as different from the rest of society.
Research conducted in 2007, before See Change was established, showed that 6 in 10 people would not want anyone to know if they had a mental health difficulty.
Ten years on, 4 in 10 people said they would conceal mental health difficulties from family, friends or colleagues, according to research SeaChange commissioned in 2017.
What is the Impact of Stigma?
The discrimination experienced by people because of their mental health problems can act as a barrier to seeking help, speaking out and recovery.
Public Stigma: Public stigma involves stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.
Stereotyping: e.g., People with mental health difficulties are dangerous
Stereotyping can make dismissing people with mental health conditions easier, leading to social distancing, exclusion, and isolation.
Prejudice: e.g., people with mental health issues are dangerous, and I am afraid of them.
Prejudice is when people form opinions without being fully aware of the facts. People with self-experience of mental health conditions frequently encounter discrimination daily, which negatively impacts them.
Discrimination: e.g., I do not want to work with someone with a mental health issue/condition.
Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less positively or appropriately than others due to their mental health condition.
Self-Stigma: For many people, the fear of misunderstanding and the prejudice they experience leads them to develop self-stigma. This is where the person starts to believe that what is said about them is true.
Self-stigma can lead people to believe myths such as they will not recover or cannot hold down a job.
How can I help end the stigma associated with mental health difficulties?
Help spread the word and wear a green ribbon.
Educate yourself on mental health difficulties and the recovery process. Learn more
Talk Openly About Mental Health. Download a talking card to help you get started
Be Conscious of Language and learn to make simple changes. Learn more about language
Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Illness. Learn about the relationship between physical & physical & mental health
Show Compassion for Those with Mental Illness. Learn to ask, listen, and offer support
Choose Empowerment Over Shame. Empower yourself with resources and services information
Let The Media Know When They’re Stigmatizing. Learn more
Don’t Harbor Self-Stigma. Learn more about awareness and attitudes