Child Bereavement UK has developed a well-evaluated Young People’s Advisory Group programme to enable young people to share experiences and to build their confidence and self-esteem by using their experience to inform and advice both professionals and bereaved families. The Buckinghamshire group worked together to create a short film entitled ‘What Health Professionals need to know – The views of bereaved young people’ in which the bereaved young people role-play their experiences in order to convey key messages.
Key messages to professionals included:
- Doctors –‘If you’ve given us bad news offer us time and support afterwards, even if we don’t ask for it. We may have questions or need more information to understand what’s happening.’
- Counsellors –‘ Explain what will happen so we know what to expect. Listen – give us time to explain how we feel. Don’t make us talk about anything we don’t feel comfortable with’
- Paramedics – ‘Be calm, Be quick.Tell us what’s happening’.
- Receptionists – ‘Be polite, respectful and listen to us when we are talking to you. It can be very off putting if you continue to ignore us and do irrelevant things’. Give instructions clearly and make sure we have understood them before moving on. We may find it difficult to ask for extra help or say if we don’t understand the information we’ve been given’.
With 100% of participants rating the group as either ‘helpful’ or ’very helpful’, comments from the young people themselves included “Everyone being in the same situation helps you feel less alone” and a view from a parent sums up the value of the work with “I think it has given back some of her confidence”.