Our young people and children’s bereavement service, the Seahorse Project, funded by Children in Need, is now in its second year and is as busy as ever with some tweaks due to the pandemic. We spoke to Robyne Chapman, Assistant Coordinator of the project and Counsellor, to hear about how the service has changed and what young people can expect from the sessions.

‘We are now doing all of our sessions on Zoom or by telephone, which has been a change. Each session lasts 50 minutes, yet no session is the same and we have adapted each one so that it is most useful to the individual we are helping.

‘We firstly make sure that each young person is talking in a space where they feel comfortable and won’t be interrupted. Starting counselling can be a bit nerve wracking, so I begin with a game to help us get to know each other. I often play a scribble game. I invite them to tell a story about the picture; it’s all about expression and loosening up. There is no right or wrong way in our work.

‘I have a lot of musical instruments as well, so sometimes I turn my camera off and ask the child to guess which instrument I am playing!

‘Sessions can look quite different with teenagers, with more of the focus being on talking rather than play. As sessions are now done at home there is no journey time to or from the hospice, which many young people would use as a time to reflect. To empower young people who might feel out of control as a result of their bereavement, I use some of our time together to think about what they can do for themselves. It’s very often the simple things such as colouring or playing their favourite music, having a bath or even taking a nap!

‘I am also keen to keep parents and carers involved in the sessions, so while the work remains confidential between the child and myself, I do take time to talk to the parents after each session to discuss how things are going and if there is anything else we can do to help, as we recognise that they too are bereaved.’

Image by Candy Batkin

If you are a young person facing bereavement, or have a child who is, please get in touch with us to see if we can help. You can contact us here.

You can also check out our Seahorse Instagram here to find out more about what we do.