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Four Young People In Northern Ireland Experience The Death Of A Parent Every Day

Newly released videos and resources aim to help young people during their grief journey

As four young people experience the death of a parent every day in Northern Ireland, a partnership between Funeral Partners NI and grief charity Cruse Bereavement Support NI, with assistance from the National Lottery Community Fund, is supporting young people navigating the loss of a loved one. 

The Teenage Youth Bereavement Project is a video support resource that has been created by members of Cruse Bereavement Support’s, Youth Advisory Group – ‘Somewhere For Us’. The short films include testimonies from young people about their own grief journey, discussion of personal experience following loss, and guidance on how to address grief, in a bid to support their peers who find themselves facing the death of someone they loved. 

From discussing the individuality of each bereavement journey to the feelings young people have surrounding death, the videos aim to bring a level of understanding to a journey that has been presented so prematurely to many young people across the Province. Entitled ‘Coping Immediately After a Death’, ‘Birthdays and Anniversaries’, ‘Coping at School or College’ and ‘How to be a Grief Ally’, they offer guidance to help prevent isolation but equally promote self-care and time alone to process the huge life event that is death. The young people also discuss milestones including anniversaries and birthdays in the aftermath of a loss and how to cope with and mark the occasions.

Speaking about the new resources, James Brown of James Brown & Sons, said: “Grieving is individual to every single person. Dealing with death is a challenging life event but when it happens to young people, it can be an even more complex event that can be extremely isolating. 

“We hope that these resources, created through Funeral Partners NI’s collaboration with Cruse Bereavement NI, are a positive step in supporting young people and those who work with them to help them understand, and live with loss.

“It is important for us to be part of an initiative that reaches out to young people and their peers at a time when they need it most. We hope this support material will prove valuable for all who find themselves facing bereavement.”

Thelma Abernethy, Head of Cruse in NI, said: “We were delighted to be asked by James Brown & Sons to help with this project. Whilst four young people a day experience the death of a parent, many more are bereaved of siblings, grandparents, friends and other family members, so the statistics are a lot higher.  Support for bereaved children and young people when they need it is vital and we know that these videos will be of great value to them. The Youth Advisory Group at Cruse decided on the topics for the videos and developed the content. They felt it was important to include some guidance for teachers and for other young people who may be supporting their friend who has been bereaved. They are an amazing group of bereaved young people who want to ensure that other bereaved young people know they are not alone.”  

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