Nigel Hartley and Perdita Dusgate launching the new information guide.

The Earl Mountbatten Hospice has launched a new guide to make it easier for Islanders to talk to children about the loss of a loved one.

It’s being launched as part of National Child Bereavement Week, which runs from Thursday (16) until next Wednesday (22).

Support in person and in groups is already offered to children and families experiencing bereavement, as part of the hospice’s partnership with KissyPuppy, the Sophie Rolf Trust, but the new guide will extend this support.

The guide has written practical advice which answers many questions on how to open up and approach the conversation about death and dying with children and young people.

According to the Childhood Bereavement Network, which is behind the national awareness week, around one school child per class has been bereaved of a parent or sibling and more than 100 children are bereaved of a mum or dad every year.

The theme for the awareness week is #YoureNotAlone and the aim of the campaign is to make children aware that there are others going through similar challenges and there’s support available to them.

Perdita Dusgate, from Northwood, and her 6-year-old son have both been supported by the hospice’s bereavement service following the death of her husband.

She says it’s taken away some stress at a difficult time:

“Discussing death, dying and bereavement with a child seems overwhelming and unnatural. This booklet gives information on where to start, questions that you will have and some great advice.

“It is important for children to have an understanding of the situation around them and the emotions that accompany it. This booklet will help so many families.”

Chief Executive at Earl Mountbatten, Nigel Hartley says he hopes it will make a difference:

“Thanks to our KissyPuppy Children and Families Bereavement Service, we are already supporting young people to share experiences and make a connection with other families who are also facing difficult times.

We hope more people who are perhaps not involved with our services will also benefit from the expert advice in our new guide, and that it will be a helpful way to open up the conversation with children who are in need of an adult to talk to.”

The new guide, called ‘Talking to children about death and dying’, can be picked up from information points across the hospice site and from Earl Mountbatten Hospice’s Psychology and Bereavement Service.

You can also download a copy from their website by clicking here.