A new bereavement resource pack has been launched to help support people who are grieving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support for Grieving in Exceptional Times has been launched by the Irish Hospice Foundation. It covers a number of topics including what to expect when planning a funeral, helping children and teenagers to deal with grief and supporting staff who have lost a loved one.
"The pandemic restrictions make everything seem strange, with normal routines disrupted. This is especially the case for people bereaved during this time, who find themselves planning a funeral and trying to cope with the loss of an important person in their life.
"Our hope for this pack is to provide information and assurance for people who are bereaved and some insights for those who want to help them," explained the foundation's head of education and bereavement services, Orla Keegan.
The pack include three resources aimed specifically at helping children and teenagers. These were developed with the help of the foundation's Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN), which works to ensure that young people have access to information, guidance and support when they are impacted by the death of someone in their lives.
According to the ICBN's coordinator, Maura Keating, "it is natural to want to protect and shield children when someone dies, however we need to talk to children to help them feel safer".
"The best thing to do is give them honest, age-appropriate information about death. It's painful to see a child upset, but children cope better with sad news when they are told the truth. These resources are centred around adapting and developing new ways around supporting children and each other to grieve until the crisis passes," Ms Keating said.
The new bereavement resource pack can be viewed here.
The foundation also runs a national bereavement support line, which is available Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm. It is aimed at anyone experiencing grief and loss. Call 1800 80 70 77.
For more information on the Irish Hospice Foundation, click here. For more on the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, click here.
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