Celebrating The Seahorse Project during Children’s Grief Awareness Week
The Seahorse Project (funded by Children in Need) offers one-to-one bereavement counselling to children and young people aged 6 to 17. Support is offered to any child in our community with or without a connection to the hospice. Sessions are free of charge and offered face-to-face at the hospice in Eastbourne, by phone or over Zoom.
To celebrate Children’s Grief Awareness Week from the 18th to the 25th November and Children in Need’s appeal day on the 19th November, we spoke to Amy Pedder, one of our Counsellors and two children we have supported, Mia* (15) and Sophie* (13). They each shared how the project is making a difference.
‘I first got support from The Seahorse Project in 2019 after struggling with a family bereavement,’ Mia told us. ‘I was finding it hard to process my feelings and had lots of emotions going on. Going to counselling each week helped me to acknowledge what had happened and gave me a time to feel all my feelings once a week.
She continued, ‘If anyone is struggling, I would recommend them to get help from St Wilfrid’s. I was able to find the light and not let my emotions fester. I realised that bereavement can also be a celebration of the person who has died.’
‘Often, if children aren’t supported in their grief, their emotions can feel too much for them. Grief can be a very overwhelming experience and children need to be told and shown that a range of very strong feelings are normal after a death. They often need reassurance from the adults around them that these feelings won’t last forever,’ Amy explained.
‘Many children hide grief from their parents and carers because they’re worried about upsetting them. Having someone impartial to talk to at the hospice allows children to express their feelings without fear. It’s important to remember children may be living with others who are grieving too and these adults may find it hard to support their children at such a vulnerable time. Often counselling helps children connect with their feelings and thoughts making it easier for them to share these with the important people in their lives moving forward,’ she said.
Like Mia, Sophie was also supported by The Seahorse Project shortly after she experienced a bereavement. ‘When I first came to the sessions, I felt nervous and shy,’ she shared. ‘I soon felt comfortable talking to my counsellor and liked doing the sessions face to face. I would encourage anyone struggling to try accessing support to see if it can help them.’
To find out more about The Seahorse Project and how you can access support, please visit our website here.
*Please note names have been changed.