- Grief and loss -

for young people

A lot of people talk about the grieving process being “a roller coaster” – some days will be better than others – and that’s perfectly normal

Grief is a feeling of intense sorrow, which is usually associated with the death of a loved one. It can often include emotional suffering that is painful, and can even feel overwhelming. Sadly, grief and loss is something most people experience in their lives. But as bad as grief feels, it’s the natural, normal and healthy reaction to any form of loss.

 

While it’s usually associated with the loss of a loved one, feelings of loss, grief and bereavement can be triggered by other events – like moving away from home, changing school, or a family break up. Whatever your loss, its personal to you – so you shouldn’t be ashamed of your emotions, or believe it’s wrong to grieve for some things. If a person, animal, home, relationship, job or situation were important to you – it’s normal to grieve when you lose them.

How you Might Feel
 

Grief can be different for every person – and can often involve a mix of confusing feelings. It’s very difficult to predict how you will react, but some common responses include:
 

  • Feeling sad, emotionally numb, angry, guilty, worried, overwhelmed and even helpless. Some people feel worried or anxious. You may cry a lot – and find yourself upset by things that wouldn’t usually bother you

  • Being tired, lacking energy and sometimes struggling to sleep. You might also find your eating habits change, and that you struggle with your concentration. You might also find that you lose interest in some things for a little while – and might feel like you don’t want to see people. You might also find yourself avoiding talking, or thinking about the loss

  • You’ll probably experience a range of thoughts like “I wish I had them back”, “I miss them so much”, “I just wanted more time”​

Looking After Yourself

A lot of people talk about the grieving process being “a roller coaster” – some days will be better than others – and that’s perfectly normal. But you need to take extra care of yourself while you’re going through the grieving process as the stress of a major emotional loss can quickly use up your energy and emotional reserves. Below are a few tips. We’ve written them to help you – but they’re equally good for supporting a friend or loved one.

  • Try to face your feelings. You can push grief down and try to ignore it – but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process – and can put you at risk of longer term problems like depression, anxiety, substance misuse and health problems

  • Try expressing your feelings in a tangible or creative way. Maybe writing about your loss in a journal, or creating a piece of artwork, or a photo album to celebrate the person or thing you’ve lost could be helpful. Some people choose to get involved in a cause or organisation that was important to your loved one – or take part in events in their memory like Cancer Research’s Race 4 Life

  • Try to maintain your hobbies and interests. It’s important to still try and take part in the things you enjoy. Routine can be comforting, and getting back to the activities (and people!) you like can help you come to terms with your loss, and help the grieving process

  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel – and don’t tell yourself you should feel a certain way either. Your grief is your own, and no one can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it”. Let yourself feel whatever you need to feel without embarrassment or judgement. It’s OK to be angry, to cry (or not!) and feel frustrated. But it’s also OK to laugh, and find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready

  • Plan ahead for grief “triggers”. Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones like birthdays can make feelings of loss and grief more intense. Be prepared for this, and know it’s completely normal. If you’re sharing an event or holiday with family and friends, talk to them ahead of time – maybe you could plan to do something nice to remember the person you’ve lost

  • Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel healthy physically, you’ll be better able to cope emotionally. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, and get some exercise. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to try and numb your pain, or artificially lift your mood. It’s important to be kind to yourself

- Useful Links -

A national charity that provides support, advice and information to young people when someone close to them dies.

A blog on how important it was to talk after a young person experienced loss in her family.

The Mix | Grief and Bereavement

Help for you to understand your feelings when losing someone close

Childline | When Someone Dies

How to cope when someone dies and who you can talk to.

- Who to contact -

If you are already accessing one of our services you can see how to contact us by checking your service page here, or talking to us on live chat.

Hope Again Young Person's Helpline

Hope Again is Cruse Bereavement Care's website for young people. Cruse is a national charity that provides support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone close to them dies.

0808 808 1677 (Monday-Friday, 9:30am - 5:00pm.)

Crisis Text Line UK

Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK for those experiencing a mental health crisis. Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

Text SHOUT to 85258 

Kooth

Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people, you can chat via their website between 12pm and 10pm through Monday to Friday or 6pm and 10 pm on Saturday or Sunday

Click the button below to visit their site

The Mix

If you're under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat.

Freephone 0808 808 4994 (13:00-23:00 daily) or visit their site using the button below

Childline

If you're under 19 you can call, email or even chat online with a counsellor about anything.

Freephone 0800 1111 or visit their site using the button below