On bereavement

20th April 2007 at 01:00
Psychologist Mike O`Conner says that when school communities are shocked by a tragedy "the key is to provide children with opportunities to talk, and, by and large, the people doing that should already be known to the children" (TES Magazine, March 30). How true this is.

I am often asked by teachers and support staff where a pupil who needs bereavement counselling can get it. My reply is usually, "From yourself."

In most cases, all a child needs is the listening ear of a trusted and familiar adult.

The Child Bereavement Trust trains school staff to help them to feel confident in giving support. This is not to dismiss the role of school counsellors. Many do a brilliant job. The most effective are those who integrate themselves into everyday school life rather than being a bolt-on when a trauma occurs. Schools cannot ignore death and grief. Bereavement is an inevitable part of our lives and is very much a whole-school issue.

* www.childbereavement.org.uk

Jill Adams Schools training and support co-ordinator, The Child Bereavement Trust, Bucks

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