Katie’s thanks to Harrogate children’s bereavement service as it marks Children’s Grief Awareness Week

A Harrogate children’s bereavement service is being thanked for their support as part of Children’s Grief Awareness Week, which begins today.

Katie Lee’s beloved grandma Sue died two years ago and Harrogate children’s bereavement service Just ‘B’ helped make a difference at such a difficult time.

Katie’s mum Emma looked around for some support and staff at Katie’s school put her in touch with Saint Michael’s specialist bereavement support service, Just ‘B’. A specially trained worker was able to come to the Grammar School to offer Katie weekly one-to-one sessions and a chance to talk, helping her express and manage her grief.

“My grandma was my best friend”, Katie explained.

“I didn’t really notice the changes in me until the end. When I started, I filled in a form together saying how I was feeling and at the end I realised how different I felt. It’s a gradual process but I feel able to cope with things better now. Megan is amazing and I want to thank her and Just ‘B’ so much.”

Katie’s younger sister Lily has also been encouraged to seek support from Just ‘B’ after hearing her sister’s experiences.

Katie said: “You see things on the TV and you think it’s going to be lying on a couch and being hypnotised or whatever and of course, it’s not like that at all. It’s a safe place, where you can talk about anything that’s on your mind, and can do activities and find things to help.  Lily is looking forward to making a memory jar, like I did, which has different layers of coloured sand relating to a different nice memory of that person, so you can look back at your jar when you want to, and think about that memory.”

Just ‘B’ has been helping children and young people across the Harrogate District to learn to manage, understand, and live with bereavement for 10 years.

Just ‘B’ has been helping children and young people across the Harrogate District to learn to manage, understand, and live with bereavement for 10 years.  Offering a safe and confidential space to understand and express their grief, in whatever way feels comfortable to them. The service works closely with parents, schools and social services to help ensure that they are well placed to help when needed. Expert professional support from a highly qualified team ensures that young people are in the safest possible hands at a time when they need it most.

Memory Jars and Feelings Jenga are just two of the ways that the service helps young people to create a physical reminder of memories of an important person, while helping to explore their thoughts and feelings. For very young children this often involves other materials such as; puppets, feelings cards, and playing with the sand pit. Sometimes, sitting or walking with supportive company is enough.

Jenna Collins, Just ‘B’ Schools Team Manager, said: “At Just ‘B’ we offer children and young people the chance to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment where they can be themselves. Often it can be difficult to articulate such powerful feelings and we use a range of materials to help find a way through when words just aren’t there or don’t adequately explain the complex emotions that they are feeling at the time.”

15-21 November 2019 marks Children’s Grief Awareness Week, and the theme of the week is ‘Lost for Words’. Visit http://www.saintmichaelshospice.org/services/bereavement-support to find out more.

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