Traumatic bereavement & Covid: New CPD resources to support children

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
A deep well: An animation focused on the impact of traumatic bereavement on children forms part of new resources from the UK Trauma Council

An understanding of childhood traumatic bereavement must be among schools’ CPD priorities for staff in the coming months, it has been urged.

With the UK having seen at least 127,000 Covid-related deaths since March 2020, a huge number of children will have been touched by the pandemic and unexpected bereavement.

As such, the UK Trauma Council and three child bereavement charities – Child Bereavement UK, Winston’s Wish and the Childhood Bereavement Network – are appealing for school staff to be equipped to support their pupils.

A set of resources is being made freely available including a written guide to traumatic bereavement with supporting tools including videos and a four-minute animation.

A statement from the campaign said: “The pandemic has created situations in which a death comes unexpectedly, without the chance to say goodbye, or where family members feel guilt that they may have brought the virus into the home. These factors may increase the likelihood of a traumatic bereavement.

“In a traumatic bereavement, the trauma gets in the way of the typical process of grieving. It blocks the child or young person’s ability to ‘make sense’ of the death and adjust to their loss. As a result, how the child or young person experiences or understands the death – the meaning they make of it – results in it being experienced as traumatic. This can happen to children and young people in any circumstance and at any age.”

The idea of the campaign and the resources is to help school staff to recognise traumatic bereavement and to help schools put appropriate support in place. There is also guidance on working effectively with bereavement services and NHS mental health services.

David Trickey, co-director of the UK Trauma Council and a leading expert on trauma, explained: “As our new resources show, young people often grieve in puddles, dipping in and out of their grief. But if the grief becomes traumatic, it is more like a deep well, and much harder for the young person to step out of. These resources should help identify traumatic bereavement, provide effective support, and allow trusted adults to hold the hope for the child or young person.”

To access the resources, visit

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