The death of a parent or sibling is one of the most devastating losses a child will ever face.

From the work we do with our partner charity, Winston’s Wish, we know if childhood grief is not dealt with, it can lead to a variety of short and long-term problems.

It’s so important to provide support to children during their grieving process. Supportive adults can help children to understand what has happened. They can encourage them to express their emotions e.g. sadness, anger and fear. Help them treasure the good memories while accepting the tough times too. Cope with the separation, and adjust to subsequent changes in their life.

Through their work, Winston’s Wish see children who have been bereaved struggling with their emotional health, with feelings of anger and anxiety. Such complex feelings can make the already difficult journey through school more challenging which means it is harder to make friends, achieve and most importantly, feel happy again.


Why the need for support?

If not supported, grief can manifest itself and result in negative outcomes for the bereaved child, both physically and mentally. As bereaved children grow up they may struggle in school, misbehave, encounter social challenges, suffer from poor mental health and experience substance abuse.

According to Winton’s Wish:

  • Bereaved children are 1.5 times more likely to have mental health problems including depression and anxiety
  • Bereaved children are 60% more likely to be expelled from school or have increased learning difficulties
  • Childhood bereavement in youth offenders can be 41% higher than the national average

By supporting bereaved children negative outcomes can be minimised and dealing with emotions can be easier. Following support from Winston’s Wish in 2017/18, 97% of children had improved mental health. 95% experienced less family stress and improved relationships and 95% saw improvements related to their behaviour or conduct.

Winston’s Wish has been helpful because they helped me to stop getting angry and to stop saying negative things.” Mia, age 9.


Further support, past the financial

As a company providing life insurance we know the cover we provide can help bereaved families lift the financial burden following a death. But there is so much more for bereaved families – especially children – to handle. We therefore wanted to provide an emotional support service to our customers. We decided to partner with Winston’s Wish as we believe the support they offer to children and their families, is the very best available.

When we receive a claim under our group life policies, we offer families access to bereavement support and advice. This introduces the National Helpline service provided by Winston’s Wish. For every death claim we receive we also donate £100 to Winston’s Wish. This is in order to support the running of their Helpline.

We recognise we have an added responsibility, beyond the financial pay out to grieving families. By making them aware of the support they can receive, like that available from Winston’s Wish, we can ensure families have access to support as and when they need it.


Winston’s Wish

Established in 1992, Winston’s Wish is the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK. They offer the widest range of practical support and guidance on bereavement to children, their families and the professionals who support them.

The Winston’s Wish Freephone National Helpline is available on 08088 020 021. It’s open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The Helpline team will provide advice and guidance to families and professionals that call for support. They also offer training days for professionals, plus a range of specialist publications, which are available at


This article was written in collaboration with Winston’s Wish, an Ellipse chosen charity.

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