Shetland Bereavement Support Service aims to support anyone in Shetland experiencing a bereavement - that includes children and young adults. SBSS has support workers who have received specialist training in supporting bereaved children and young adults.

If you feel a student would benefit from accessing our service, please pass on our details to them/their family, or support them to make a self referral. With consent, you may make a referral on their behalf. Memory Boxes are an excellent resource for children and young adults - to request a Memory Box or to find out more about this free resource, please click here.

What do children understand about death and dying?

Children experience grief in similar intensities to adults. However, a child’s experience and expression of grief, and their understanding of death will vary depending upon their age and stage of development. They may also fluctuate in and out of their grief. NHS Scotland, have an excellent webpage dedicated to Support Around Death, with a short video on how to talk to children who are bereaved.

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK has some excellent resources for teachers and support workers to introduce the topics of death and grief to pupils.
Having honest conversations about death and grief - is part of a suite of free-to-access resources, available via CBUK, which offer support to schools in managing a sudden death and/or supporting a bereaved pupil.

This new resource is designed to give staff in schools confidence to talk openly and honestly about death and grief with students, supporting their long-term wellbeing and management of grief throughout their lives.

The coronavirus pandemic has heightened awareness of death and dying. However, many adults (including professionals) feel ill-equipped to address these subjects, particularly with young people. Yet talking openly and honestly about death and grief can help young people by:

  • Normalising feelings of grief
  • Developing emotional literacy
  • Building resilience
  • Learning about empathy
  • Dispelling myths and explaining euphemisms
  • Offering an opportunity to ask questions

Having honest conversations about death and grief offers a range of flexible activity ideas to help introduce the topics of death and grief in a sensitive, accessible way, with options for reflection and support to end each session. Support for staff is provided with film clips and resources to guide them through the preparation, delivery and follow-up of each session.

Other useful websites

The Anna Freud Foundation provides a free network for education professionals - Schools in Mind - shares practical, academic and clinical expertise about mental health and wellbeing in schools and FE colleges.

The network aims to translate research into practice by providing evidence-based, accessible information and resources that can be used to embed good mental health across the whole school community.

Winstons Wish - On average, 1 in every 29 children will be bereaved of a parent. That’s one in every class. Yet many teachers receive no bereavement training and are unsure how to support grieving children and young people in their class. Winston’s Wish can help you and your school create a bereavement policy, provide training and advise teaching professionals on how to support a child dealing with loss and grief through our online resources.

University of Dundee - have created a comic aimed at helping young people deal with grief and bereavement. This has been produced in a project involving the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and the University of Strathclyde. Teenagers from across Scotland shared their experiences of loss with academics from Strathclyde and project leaders at the University of Dundee. The result was a 40-page publication titled When People Die: Stories From Young People.