Losing someone important to you is one of the hardest things to experience in life. If you're young, bereavement can be even more difficult. But support and advice are available to help you get through it.
Your teenage years can be a lot of fun, but they are also often an emotional time. If someone close to you dies, it can be incredibly hard. Your world may feel as though it has crashed down around you.
It can make you feel very alone, especially as a young person, because you might find that none of your friends have gone through anything similar and won't understand or know what to say.
Your emotions after a bereavement
Grieving is a natural part of recovering from a bereavement, and everyone's experience of grief is different. There are no rules about what we should feel, and for how long.
But many people find they feel a mixture of the following:
- shock, particularly if the death was unexpected
- relief, if the death followed a long period of illness
- guilt and regret
- despair and helplessness
These feelings may be very intense, particularly in the early days and weeks. Time eventually helps these intense emotions subside, and there's no need to feel guilty about starting to feel better. It doesn't mean you're not respecting the person's memory or forgetting about them.
There are several things that can help you start to feel better. Looking after your health and talking to someone will help you get through this difficult time.
Finding support for bereavement
Talking about your grief is an important part of getting through a bereavement. Choosing who to talk to about your feelings is a very personal decision. Sometimes the most unlikely person can actually offer the most support.
If you've lost a family member, someone else in your family may also be good to open up to because they're likely to understand how you're feeling.
A close friend can be a good listener and a source of comfort and support, even if they haven't gone through this themselves.
There are lots of other sources of advice and support available through college, including:
- The college Safeguarding Team who are available on every campus during college hours. Please see them in their office or get signposted to them by Reception or Student Services. They can speak to you and support as well as referring you to other help if needed. This includes support in college from an Emotional Health and Wellbeing professional
- Other college staff you may feel at first best to talk to a teacher, your personal tutor, progression specialist or another member of our support teams. Please don’t hesitate, they will be able to listen and then help you get the support you need
- The Student Assistance Programme which is available 24/7 on 0800 028 3766. Here trained are counsellors ready to speak to you. This can be done as a one off call or as a series of counselling sessions that are arranged with no waiting list on TEAMS. They can also support you in a crisis situation
- Other support teams it may be that in dealing with bereavement you have got behind in your studies or need some help having missed lessons. Speak to your personal tutor or teachers about the help available in subjects, with study skills or in additional learning support.
Looking after yourself during a bereavement
During a time of grief you may not feel like looking after yourself, but it's important to help you cope with the extreme emotions that come with bereavement.
Some of the following quite simple things can make a big difference, such as:
- eating – you may lose your appetite, but try to keep eating as normally as possible: your body needs food, even if you don't want it; ideally, go for healthy, well-balanced meals
- sleeping – it can be hard to sleep when you're very upset, but there are some things that can help: read 10 tips to beat insomnia for more information
- socialising – seeing your friends and keeping up a normal social life may help take your mind off things and allow you to talk about how you're doing, if you want to; but don't feel guilty about not thinking about the person you've lost or having a good laugh with friends
- exercising – regular exercise can make you feel good and help you sleep (but avoid doing vigorous exercise close to bedtime); it can also be a relief to focus on something physical when you're going through an emotional time
- avoiding smoking, drinking and taking drugs – you may feel like smoking or drinking because you feel down, but your body has to work hard to deal with substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs, especially when you're young, and they'll end up making you feel worse
Support from outside of college
- helplines - There are a number of external helplines that we would recommend for support.
- Crane Counselling – Crane offer free face to face counselling on Shrewsbury town centre to any young person affected in any way by bereavement. Call them on 01743 240546 to access this service
- Cruse Bereavement young people's helpline on 0808 808 1677
- Samaritans are available at all times on 116 123
- Hopeline is available from suicide prevention charity Papyrus 24 hours a day on 0800 068 4141.
- websites - Online support is sometimes a comfortable way to reach help
- your GP - Especially if you're concerned you're not coping, might be depressed, have trouble eating or sleeping, are thinking about hurting yourself, or you're not starting to feel better after a few months: they may suggest you have counselling.
There are other sources of help available too. Different things work for different people. If you need ideas please talk to our safeguarding team