No matter how old: Grief support for children and youth

If you are old enough to love, you are old enough to grieve. But no one, including children and youth, should have to grieve alone.

Victoria Hospice recognizes the unique ways young people experience grief and loss on National Children’s Grief Awareness Day on November 18.

“We want the community to know although the experience of children and youth can be different from adults’, they grieve. We’re here to ensure children and youth are not alone in their experience,” says Allyson Whiteman, Child & Youth Counsellor.  

Support is available at Victoria Hospice for children and teens who are grieving, whether someone in their family is ill or dying, or they are experiencing bereavement. In addition to free counselling, the Child and Youth Counsellor provides a wealth of resources for parents, families, and people who support a child or youth in grief including a three-part podcast, Child and Youth Grief Information for Parents and Caregivers resource booklet, resource lists for books and websites and the following video:

Children and adults’ response to death and loss differs in a number of ways, says Whiteman. Children communicate through behaviours, and their grief can be sporadic. “Teens can typically language their feelings better than children, but they’re also going through big developmental changes, and that’s taking up a huge amount of their time and energy,” she says.  

Whiteman also points to the losses that children, teens, and families have experienced during the pandemic. Some of those losses are not death related. But they are losses, nonetheless.

“For the past 20 months, our kids have experienced other large losses, such as contact with friends and school contacts,” she says. “For those who have experienced the death of someone they have also had to experience waiting for a celebration of life, memorial, or funeral to happen, and that has been difficult for children and youth.”

Thanks to the support of our donors, Victoria Hospice offers compassionate support though a range of services including volunteer calls, professional counselling, bereavement support groups, memorial events, and information about grief for adults, children and youth. Services are currently available over the phone and online.

Access to bereavement services at Victoria Hospice is open to everyone. No prior connection to hospice or referral is required.

Contact us by email or 250-519-3040.