When someone dies suddenly, there is no chance to prepare for the death, and no chance to say goodbye to a loved one.
A challenging bereavement could be due to:
a medical cause, such as COVID-19 or another rapidly advancing disease, or one of many unexpected medical causes, such as a stroke, heart attack, neo-natal death or stillbirth
an event, such as a road crash, homicide, alcohol/drug poisoning, or terrorist attack
Sudden death can be particularly traumatic for children and they are more likely to need support, including more specialised support.
Why do children need to be supported after a sudden bereavement?
It is really important that children who are bereaved suddenly are cared for and receive support, especially in the first days and weeks following their bereavement.
There is sound evidence to show that with the right support, children can make a good recovery, do well at school and go on to lead a happy, healthy life after experiencing a sudden bereavement.
There is also evidence to show that without early care, people who are bereaved suddenly or too soon are more likely to develop serious mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prolonged grief disorder (PGD) or persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD).
A sudden bereavement has been linked to academic underachievement , increased risk of teenage pregnancy and youth offending.
After a bereavement, the support and routine that schools provide can be critical in helping a child’s recovery.