Barnardos https://www.barnardos.ie provide a wide-ranging service to families including support around bereavement. Downloadable e-books both parents and children are available on their website as well as links to various services. A national telephone support service for parents is available in response to the challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Freephone 1800 910 123 (from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday). Barnardos also provide a children’s bereavement helpline service, for members of the public seeking information and support in relation to bereavement. Telephone 01 473 2110 (from 10am to 12pm, Monday to Thursday)
Children’s Grief Project Support service for children and young people affected by loss through death, separation or divorce – 061 -313-037
Irish Childhood Bereavement Network https://www.childhoodbereavement.ie is a member organisation where families, professionals and schools can obtain information, guidance and support from various professionals.
Rainbows https://www.rainbowsireland.ie is a free, voluntary service that supports children and young people with separation and bereavement. Support programmes for children and young people at both primary and post-primary level are available for students three months (minimum) after the experience of a loss. Further information and resources are available at their website.
The Irish Hospice Foundation https://hospicefoundation.ie have developed practical and easily accessible materials for the Irish context, and include resources and supports available from organisations such as the HSE, DES and websites such as RIP.ie. There are also topic specific resources addressing issues such as; ‘Grieving in exceptional times’ and ‘Helping children grieve during COVID-19 restrictions’
Mencap www.mencap.org.uk have materials to explain loss and death to people with learning disabilities and includes literature for specific aspects such as ‘What can I do to feel better’ and ‘Going to a funeral’
Childline (ISPCC) is Ireland’s 24-hour national listening service for young people up to the age of 18. Freephone1800 666 666 (any time, day or night). Text 50101 (from 10am to 4pm every day). Chat online at www.childline.ie (from 10am to 4pm every day).
The www.YourMentalHealth.ie website has information on all mental health supports and services available nationally & locally from the HSE and its funded partners. You can also call the Freephone YourMentalHealthInformation Line to find supports and services: 1800 111 888(any time, day or night).
Jigsaw The Jigsaw Support Line is available for free mental health support and advice to young people aged 12 to 25 years old, and parents or concerned adults in Ireland. Freephone 1800 544729 (from 1pm to 5pm Mon to Friday) Text CALL ME to 086 180 3880, giving your preferred day and time for a call (from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Email email@example.com (for responses from 9am to 5pm Mon to Fri)Visit www.jigsaw.ie or www.jigsawonline.ie for more information
Turn2Me & MyMind Turn2Me provides a 3 tiered approach to supporting mental well-being; self-help, support groups and professional support. Online services include counselling and support groups. www.turn2me.ie and www.mymind.org
Samaritans The Samaritans telephone service is available 24 hours a day or confidential, non-judgmental support: Freephone 116 123 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch
Messaging support service A new mental health messaging support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It provides in-the-moment anonymous support when you need it most. This service aims to connect you with a trained volunteer in less than 5 minutes. They will listen to you and help you think more clearly, enabling you to know that you can take the next step to feeling better. Text YMH to 086 1800 280 (Standard SMS rates may apply)
Coping with bereavement for Students and Parents/Guardians
Coping with bereavement can be difficult and stressful. It can affect the way we feel, think and behave. The following information will help you understand some of the feelings and reactions you may experience within hours, days or weeks after an event. There are also some suggestions on what may help you during this time.
Normal Feelings and Thoughts at this time
You may experience any of the following which are a normal reaction:
- Shock at what has happened. Things may feel unreal. Shock sometimes causes people to deny what has happened. This doesn’t mean you don’t care. You may feel like withdrawing, crying or becoming hysterical.
- Fear about the unpredictability of everything especially life, of a similar incident happening, of breaking down or losing control, of being alone.
- Guilt – feeling responsible in some way for what has happened even though you are being told you could not be, for not being able to make things better or not being able to help others.
- Shame for not reacting as you thought you thought you should, for needing support from others.
- Anger at someone or something, wanting to blame someone or something for what has happened, at the injustice of the event.
- Confusion about the event, about how you should react, about having mixed feelings about everything.
- Pain at the loss of the person, of associating this with other incidents, bereavements or losses that you may have experienced before.
- Left out by people not acknowledging your involvement in the loss or your relationship with the person who has left.
- Physical and behavioural reactions
- It is quite normal to experience tiredness, sleeplessness, nightmares, headaches, loss or increase of appetite, bowel/bladder problems, loss of concentration, irritability. Sometimes people feel generally unwell.
- You need to look after yourself
- You are normal and are having normal reactions to a stressful event
- There are people you can talk to
- You may not experience any of the above feelings
- There is little you can do to avoid these uncomfortable feelings and thoughts but there are things you can do to help you cope.
- What you can do to look after yourself
- Talk – Try to talk about what happened and how you feel. Don’t bottle things up. Sharing your experience with others who have had similar experiences may help. Let someone know if you are not coping well. If it is difficult to talk, keep a journal of how you are feeling or draw your experiences or emotions.
- Thinking over what has happened – you need to process what has happened and allow it more into your mind over time. With time you may need to talk about it, write about it. You may find that you dream about it over and over again. All this eventually helps you to accept what has happened.
- Eating properly – Try to eat a regular meal three times a day.
- Exercise and Relaxation – Make sure you take some exercise and also find ways to relax and rest.
- Be careful not to use drink or other drugs to help you cope – They may numb the pain temporarily but will lead to other problems.
Seek help if:
- You cannot cope with or feel overwhelmed by your feelings.
- You (continue to) have nightmares.
- You experience sleeplessness.
- Intrusive thoughts about the loss persist.
- You begin to have problems in school.
- You have been using excessive drinking, smoking or other drugs to help you cope since the event.
Where can I get help?
- Always talk to your Parents.
- See resources list above
- If concerned, visit your G.P. with your parent.
- External counselling is available through your G.P.