A new guide to support people in talking to children about death and dying is being launched by Earl Mountbatten, as part of national Child Bereavement Week (16 to 22 November 2017).

Thanks to the hospice’s partnership with KissyPuppy, the Sophie Rolf Trust, face-to-face and group support is already provided to children and families experiencing bereavement. The new guide extends this support by providing written practical advice which answers many questions on how to open up the conversation about death and dying with children and young people.

According to the Childhood Bereavement Network, which is behind the national awareness week, approximately one school child per class has been bereaved of a parent or sibling and over 100 children are bereaved of a mum or dad each year. Many more experience the death of a brother, sister, grandparent or someone else important in their lives. The theme for the awareness week is #YoureNotAlone and the campaign aims to help children realise that there are others who are going through similar challenges, and that there is help and support available to them.

Perdita Dusgate, from Northwood, and her 6-year-old son have both been supported by the hospice’s bereavement service following the death of her husband. She said: “Discussing death, dying and bereavement with a child seems overwhelming and unnatural. This booklet gives information on where to start, questions that you will have and some great advice. It is important for children to have an understanding of the situation around them and the emotions that accompany it. This booklet will help so many families.”

Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive at Earl Mountbatten, said: “Thanks to our KissyPuppy Children and Families Bereavement Service, we are already supporting young people to share experiences and make a connection with other families who are also facing difficult times. We hope more people who are perhaps not involved with our services will also benefit from the expert advice in our new guide, and that it will be a helpful way to open up the conversation with children who are in need of an adult to talk to.”

The new guide, called ‘Talking to children about death and dying’, can be picked up from information points across the hospice site and from our Psychology and Bereavement Service. You can also download a copy from our website www.iwhospice.org/page/leaflets.html