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Compass launches bereavement service for children and young people experiencing complicated grief

Compass Wakefield service

Published on: April 26, 2024

See this story on the Wakefield District Health & Care Partnership website

A new Specialist Bereavement Service has been launched in Wakefield for children and young people experiencing complicated, long lasting and debilitating grief which they find difficult to move on from.

Two new specialist bereavement counsellors are now working as part of the existing Compass Wakefield emotional health and wellbeing service. They are offering one to one and group sessions across the Wakefield district – in schools and Family Hubs. Counselling is also available, virtually, through Compass’s Wakey Wellness App

The service, commissioned by NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, is for children and young people aged five to 19. It includes those with additional difficulties, such as neuro diversity. Referrals are welcomed directly from young people, parents/carers or professionals.

Jane Wright, Assistant Director of Operations at Compass, explained that the service supports young people struggling to move through the grief process. Their grief may be prolonged and affect their day to day living over a period of time. It may affect their emotional health and well-being.

She said: “The death of someone – especially a sudden, unexpected death – can make a young person’s world feel as though it has crashed down around them. The loss might have been particularly traumatic. Perhaps it was a death by suicide, or the death of a sibling or parent.

“It can make them feel very alone, especially as a young person, because they might find that none of their friends have gone through anything similar and won’t understand or know what to say. Our service supports young people to work through what they are experiencing and enables them to find ways to live with grief and build a life around loss.”

And Jane added: “Most children and young people will go through a normal period of grief and bereavement with feelings of sorrow, numbness, and even guilt or anger.

“Unfortunately, for some children and young people, feelings of loss are debilitating and don’t improve even after time passes.”

The introduction of the new service by Compass follows the charity rolling out a similar service as part of the Compass Be Mental Health Support Team in Barnsley in 2021.

Jo Rooney, Senior Commissioning and Transformation Manager – Children and Young People, at NHS West Yorkshire ICB, said: “Losing a loved one or someone close to us can have a profound impact on anyone at any stage of their life.

“For children and young people who have complex emotional and mental wellbeing problems as a result of grief, it is crucial that they receive the right support.  

“This new service will provide a combination of one-to-one and group counselling, giving children, young people – and their families – the space to talk and support through the grieving process.”

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