Young People Impacted By Cancer Launch Bereavement Support Resources for Schools
Young people supported by Cancer Fund for Children have launched a set of bereavement support resources to help others who have been bereaved
The young people, who are aged between 12-17 years old are part of our #iWill bereaved advocacy group, which was launched last year with support from the Co-op Foundation, to empower them to become peer advocates and to campaign for change.
Using their first-hand experience of grief, consulting with other bereaved young people and completing research, the group decided to focus their efforts on improving bereavement support in schools.
Their experience and research showed that the support offered to young people varied vastly between schools. They found that most often, young people were not involved in decisions about how they should be supported post-bereavement.
The aim of their social action project was – to ensure that schools are a safe, comfortable and supportive place for bereaved students in Northern Ireland. Through speaking to members of school staff as part of their research, they found that this was a desire echoed by schools and that they would welcome input from young people who have directly experienced bereavement.
As a result, the #iWill group have developed a set of resources to enhance support in schools. This includes a bereavement support plan for young people, as well as a bereavement support booklet for teachers.
“When I first heard of the #iWill group I was nervous thinking no one will ‘get me’. Then I got to know everyone and we all just got along so well. Everyone understands what each of us were going through. It was amazing to get know them all and to fix problems around bereavement. I loved that we all trusted each other enough to talk about how we’re feeling. It was great for me in every way. It helped me remember that it’s okay to feel the way I do”
Chloe Truesdale (14)
“We’re delighted to be launching the #iWill group’s Bereavement Support Plan resources today. These resources, which have been designed by the young people, are practical tools that can be used with students to involve them in decisions around the support they receive in school after a bereavement. They also highlight the importance of offering support on a longer-term basis, provide examples of types of support schools could put in place and include advice from young people for school staff on supporting bereaved students, so we hope they will be helpful resources for schools. I’m extremely proud of the #iWill group and their desire to use their own experiences to create change for other young people through the creation of their Bereavement Support Plan.”
Laura O'Hare, Cancer Fund for Children Youth Engagement Specialist