Warning Over Children Struggling With Bereavement

23 December 2015, 07:18 | Updated: 23 December 2015, 07:37

Christmas can be the saddest time of the year for children struggling with bereavement, the NSPCC has said.

 The charity urged the families of youngsters who have lost loved ones to look out for signs that they are struggling to cope during the festive period.

More children contact ChildLine about bereavement in the run-up to Christmas than at any other time of the year.

One in 10 counselling sessions about loss carried out by the service in 2014/15 took place last December.

Children as young as seven contacted ChildLine to discuss their sadness about family and friends who had died, although most calls were from 15 and 16-year-olds.

Some said they found the first Christmas after a bereavement especially difficult.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "At a time of year when the emphasis is on celebrating, many children and young people who've suffered a bereavement really struggle if they feel they have to hide their sadness away.

"They need to know it's okay to feel upset and that they don't need to put on a brave face.

"Every 25 seconds a child contacts ChildLine and our volunteers are here all day and night, including though the festive period, whenever children need someone to listen - on the phone and online.''

The NSPCC is offering advice online for parents and carers who may be struggling to talk to children about bereavement and loss.

They can also call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk. Children and young people can contact ChildLine any time on 0800 1111 or find support online at www.childline.org.uk.