Every 22 minutes a child in the UK experiences the death of a parent or sibling; the equivalent of one child in every classroom bereaved before they reach 16 years old.
Some of these sadly will be due to meningitis, which is why we’re happy to support the initiative, run by children’s bereavement charity Grief Encounter.
Now in its fourth year, Children’s Grief Awareness Week raises awareness of bereaved children and young people in the UK as a vulnerable group in society, and how providing those affected with free, professional support can make a difference to their future.
Not talking about their feelings
New statistics, released on behalf of Grief Encounter, in association with the Childhood Bereavement Network, show that 60 per cent of bereaved children do not talk about their anxieties with someone at home, and 27 per cent do not talk about their feelings with friends or peers.
As a result, children who have experienced a close bereavement are more likely to develop serious mental health problems, be excluded from school, become involved in criminal activity and experience financial difficulties.
Kevin Wells, Founding Patron of Grief Encounter, said, “Bereavement is still very much a taboo subject. By showing our commitment to helping those affected, with Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK, we hope to make people aware of the seriousness of bereavement and the services that are, and should be, available to all families nationwide.”
Katherine Jenkins OBE, patron of Grief Encounter, launched the week with an online release of the track ‘Jealous of the Angels’ from her forthcoming album ‘Guiding Light’. This was performed with the Grief Encounter Children’s Choir, featuring 14 bereaved children aged from 5 to 11.