“Grief holds no boundary”: Diversity and inclusivity in bereavement support
It is widely acknowledged that there is no blueprint for grieving – there are as many ways to grieve as there are people. It is also not uncommon to feel an enormous sense of isolation following the death of someone important in your life.
Emma, whose baby died, told us: “You feel like an alien – you feel like no one really knows what’s happened to you and you are walking around with this strange feeling in the world and you feel so alone – I have never felt so alone in my life.”
We know that with the right support, families can be helped to manage their sense of feeling different from others. Jenna, aged 14, whose mother died, told us: “Child Bereavement UK helped me get used to talking to people about her and if people asked questions I could answer them without panicking or getting scared that they would think I was different.”
A sense of feeling ‘different from the majority’ – be it through your background, faith, beliefs, sexuality or culture – can compound feelings of feeling isolated in your grief.
Grace and Jennie (pictured below) came to us for support after their baby died during pregnancy. They told us: “Same-sex couples are no different from any other family going through grief. Grief holds no boundary; we are just people trying to deal with the tragedy that hits so many.”
We live and work in a multi-cultural, diverse society where, on top of unique responses to grief, there can be extra layers in the form of different cultural practices and norms which, if not acknowledged or managed with sensitivity, can hinder the grieving process. For professionals, having the skills and confidence to take a sensitive and supportive approach when in contact with bereaved family members, whose backgrounds and belief systems differ from their own, can be challenging.
In response to this, Child Bereavement UK has put together an innovative conference for professionals. It aims to increase awareness and understanding and promote equality when providing bereavement support and communicating with people from diverse backgrounds. A fascinating group of speakers will cover topics including bereavement experiences of Gypsies and Travellers; the challenges of grieving as a same-sex couple; bereavement and learning disability; multiculturalism in schools, and bereavement practices and rituals from different faith perspectives.
The conference Diversity and inclusion in bereavement support is suitable for any professional involved in the provision of bereavement support to children, young people and families. Manchester, 15 November 2018.
For further information: www.childbereavementuk.org/diversity
Tel: 01494 568909
Notes for Editors
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. The charity has trained more than 100,000 professionals since it launched in 1994, helping them to better understand and meet the needs of grieving families.