Caring for bereaved children after a couple of months

After a couple of months it is normal for a child’s more extreme symptoms to begin to subside. The deep grief remains, but the initial shock has subsided. On the other hand, it is also common to find at any time that symptoms haven’t subsided, or they have got worse, or there are new symptoms. These symptoms could include trouble eating or sleeping, terrible dreams, feeling angry, crying all the time, inability to work or concentration problems at school, being jumpy or scared to go out, or finding it hard to talk.

Whatever the symptoms, if a child isn’t beginning to feel a little better, emotionally or physically, then now is the time to seek an assessment of needs from a medical professional. In the UK, a family doctor should be able to arrange for an assessment for conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression. Many people bereaved suddenly develop conditions such as these and it is important to get a condition diagnosed and treated. The most common and effective form of treatment following a sudden death for both children and adults isn’t drugs; it’s a series of confidential conversations with an expert therapist, who can help someone to talk about what has happened to them and find a way forward to be happy again.

You can read UK government guidelines on treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder here.

As well as seeking help through a GP, specialist bereavement charities for children and families can offer ongoing support and help.

Order the book Someone has died suddenly, a vital resource to help children affected by a sudden bereavement.