OBJECTIVES: Palliative care services have, up to now, paid insufficient attention to social aspects of dying and bereavement and this has affected how patients and their families experience end of life and bereavement within their communities. New public health approaches to palliative care offer a different way forward by seeking to develop communities that support death and bereavement. Such approaches are now a priority for the majority of hospices in the UK and work with schools has been identified as a key area of work. Practice that engages schools and children on issues concerning end-of-life care is, however, underdeveloped and underdocumented. This research explored the role of hospices in working with schools to promote education and support around end-of-life and bereavement experiences.
METHODS: Action research was used to explore the potential for hospices to work with schools and engage participants in change processes. The research was conducted in 1 hospice and 2 primary schools in Scotland. Participants included children, parents and school and hospice staff.
RESULTS: Seven innovations were identified that were found to be useful for the school curriculum and the relationship between hospices, school communities and wider society. A model for integrated practice between hospices and schools is suggested.
CONCLUSIONS: This research adds to knowledge about how hospices might engage in community engagement activities that encourage school staff to develop greater openness and support around end-of-life and bereavement care for their children. This will require a rethinking of normal hospice services to also participate in community capacity building.
A plethora of research exists about death and dying, particularly with regard to the prescriptive strategy on how teachers should address death in their classrooms. However, there is a gap in the literature about teachers' perceived preparedness to discuss a student's death in their classrooms. The following qualitative study used focus groups to explore teachers' experiences with and beliefs about death, dying, coping, student death, and preparedness to address student death in the classroom. Data were transcribed and thematically analyzed. Themes and subthemes for all research questions are presented and explained; some themes explored include teachers' views of death, death versus dying, initial and long-term coping, difficulties in addressing student death, the teachers' role after a student's death, feelings of being prepared versus unprepared to address student death in the classroom.
Cette manifestation consacrée aux enfants, adolescents et jeunes adultes orphelins est une opportunité de mettre la lumière sur leur situation sociale et leur vécu. Placé sous le signe de l’action, cet événement est l’occasion de prendre connaissance des résultats inédits des sept projets de recherche soutenus par la Fondation OCIRP, du partenariat initié avec l'Institut national d'études démographiques (INED) et de l'enquête « École et orphelins », programme interne du pôle Études et recherche de la fondation. Cet événement est enfin l’occasion d’ouvrir un espace de débat entre chercheurs-es et acteurs mobilisés et concernés : praticiens, professionnels de l’action sociale et de la santé, enseignants et personnels de l’éducation, chercheurs, acteurs associatifs, responsables politiques, journalistes, représentants d’institutions publiques et d’organismes privés, et en particulier parents, enfants, adolescents et jeunes adultes orphelins et leurs proches.
Les projets de vie de l’enfant font partie intégrante des soins palliatifs. Dans un contexte d’avenir incertain, proposer un projet de scolarisation, c’est proposer un projet de continuité du lien social et un projet de vie bien réel. Notre expérience témoigne de la possibilité d’intégration en milieu scolaire d’une enfant en soins palliatifs, pour une pathologie avec un risque vital présent et une déformation faciale source de différence et de non intégration potentielle. Le dynamisme et la bienveillance de tous ont permis de recréer un lien essentiel, source de revalorisation pour l’enfant en soin palliatif, au-delà des différences.
This article offers a reflection of two studies conducted with bereaved college students and the feedback on motivations to be interviewed about their grief experiences. Although this was not the initial intent of the original mixed methods study, the unexpected and overwhelming response of students who signed up to interview about their grief experiences warranted an additional examination to explore this surprising phenomenon. Responses in 45 interviews centered on motivations of wanting to share their experiences, feeling safe sharing their experiences, and wanting to help other students who may be experiencing grief. Implications and recommendations for future research are provided.
Most people avoid talking about death with children even when required, as they are unsure at what age children start understanding the concept of death. Although this question has been researched in the west, it has not been answered in the Indian context. Therefore, this study was conducted in India with 25 children (14 females, 11 males; 3-5 years), using play and joint story construction method, along with semistructured interviews. Results indicated that majority of the children understood that everyone has to die, including significant people like their own parents (i.e., universality) and also, many children understood that death is final (i.e., irreversibility). However, only few children understood that all cognitive/behavioral functions cease at death (i.e., nonfunctionality). In conclusion, only a small proportion of preschoolers seems to have had a mature concept of death.
A significant proportion of secondary school pupils in the UK have experienced the death of someone close. Bereavement in childhood can have a significant and long lasting impact. The aim of this study was to explore how pupils aged between 12 and 18 understand major loss, death and dying, whom they talk to and the support they access at these times, and their awareness of the range of support available to them. A total of 31 pupils, 108 parents and 37 staff from a large Scottish secondary school took part and data was collected using online questionnaires. A high proportion of pupils had experience of major loss or bereavement and showed significant awareness of their feelings and responses to these. It appears that young people primarily seek support from family and friends, but the role of peers is less well recognised by parents and teachers. The school was recognised as a source of support mainly by teachers.
This article investigates children's views on providing peer support to bereaved children. The data (pre- and postinterviews and written documents) come from an action research study of a teacher-researcher and her 16 children aged 10-11 years old. Analysis of the data shows children's ideas on supporting a bereaved child and how this support should be provided, taking into consideration various factors such as the relationship with the bereaved and the role of memories. The paper emphasizes that children should have structured opportunities across the whole-school curriculum to learn how loss affects people's lives to support themselves and others.
Using a sample of recently bereaved youth (N = 2,425; Mage = 15.31, SD = 1.50), this study examined associations between dimensions of religiousness and current functioning. Youth reported on their religious service attendance, religious coping, and the importance of religious beliefs and substance use, academic achievement, depressive symptoms, and self-esteem. Greater religious service attendance was associated with lower substance use and the greater importance of religious beliefs was associated with lower substance use and greater self-esteem. Greater religious coping was associated with greater academic achievement. Findings suggest distinct dimensions of religiousness may have differential implications for adolescent functioning after experiencing loss.
BACKGROUND: Suicide is the leading cause of death in Korean adolescents and it exposes school teachers to the impact of student suicide.
AIMS: This study aimed to explore the bereavement experience of teachers following student suicide.
METHOD: Using semistructured questions, five female teachers working at secondary schools in Korea were interviewed on their bereavement experiences. Data were analyzed using a phenomenological approach.
RESULTS: Participants described their experiences in dimensions of individuals and professions, yielding four major themes and 11 subthemes. They made efforts to learn about the suicide as a first step toward understanding. Participants suspended their grief in public owing to the atmosphere in their workplace. They aimed to tolerate the suicide and recognized their role anew in preventing student suicide.
CONCLUSION: Following student suicide, bereaved teachers experience a variety of effects, dysfunctions, and adjustments as individuals and professionals. Their experience should be understood in both individual and collective ways in school settings and in the cultural context. The findings encourage school health providers to develop programs and policies to help teachers bereaved by student suicide.
Juniper Lemon tente de supporter l'absence de sa soeur, morte dans un accident de voiture, en continuant de remplir ses fiches d'index de bonheur. Un jour, elle perd la fiche vierge du jour, en faisant un trou de plus dans sa vie. Elle décide donc de la chercher dans le lycée... jusque dans les poubelle. Lorsqu'elle trouve par hasard un mot de suicide, elle décide de retrouver son auteur. Commence pour elle une véritable enquête qui va l'entraîner dans des amitiés inattendues. Grâce à ses nouveaux amis, elle se confrontera à sa famille, à la partie de vie que sa soeur lui cachait et à elle-même.
Sam, 9 ans, fait sa rentrée dans une nouvelle école et doit affronter de nouveaux copains avec la tristesse d'un petit garçon qui vient de perdre sa petite soeur d'une maladie neurodégénérative.
Nous le suivons dans sa nouvelle vie avec toutes ses questions, ses doutes, ses chagrins, les rencontres qui le consolent, les premières fois sans... Et les sentiments qui l'assaillent à la naissance d'une autre petite soeur.
La maitresse annonce aux élèves que Nicole est morte, elle a été renversée par un camion. Voyant un dessin de Nicole accroché au mur de l'école, Rémi se souvient...
Ce livre aborde la mort et évoque les rites et coutumes propres à d'autres croyances.
This article presents an action research study that explores how a fifth-grade classroom of 10- to 11-year-old children in Cyprus perceive the concepts of grief and grieving, after an educational intervention provided space for discussing such issues. It also explores the impact that the intervention program had on children's emotions while exploring these concepts and illustrates how it affected their behavior. The findings suggest that the intervention had a constructive impact on children's understandings of grief and grieving along two important dimensions. First, the intervention helped children better define emotional responses to loss (grief). Second, children seemed to overcome their anxiety while talking about grief and grieving and were able to share relevant personal experiences. The study has important implications for curriculum development, pedagogical practice, and teacher training on death education.
This study explores how Danish students experience returning to school following parental bereavement. Eighteen focus group interviews with 39 participants aged 9 to 17 years were conducted. All participants had experienced the loss of a primary caregiver. Data collection was divided into two phases. In Phase I, 22 participants from four grief groups were interviewed 4 times over the course of a year. During Phase II, confirmatory focus groups were undertaken with the 17 participants. This article explores findings related to the four themes of initial school response, long-term support, challenges within the class, and academic challenges. The study found that (a) students struggle to reconnect with classmates following the return to school and often feel alone, (b) schools fail to have guidelines in place for what they are allowed to do if becoming sad the class, and (c) schools seem to forget their loss as time passes.
Bereavement due to sudden loss may disrupt positive adjustment among youth, yet few studies have examined the age at which youth are most likely to first encounter sudden loss, the co-occurrence of sudden loss with other traumatic events, and the independent effects of sudden loss on academic functioning. Data were analyzed from the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (N = 10,148, Mage = 15.18, 51.1% female). Youth reported on whether they had experienced sudden loss (along with 17 other traumatic events), the age at which they had first experienced sudden loss, and multiple indicators of academic functioning. Sudden loss was the most frequently occurring traumatic event among youth; approximately 30% of adolescents reported at least one sudden loss in their lifetime. Youth were most likely to have first experienced sudden loss during middle adolescence (15 to 16 years of age). Although sudden loss co-occurred with several other traumas, about 10% of youth reported experiencing only sudden loss. After accounting for demographic characteristics and other traumatic events, experiencing sudden loss was associated with lower academic achievement, lower ability to concentrate and learn, less enjoyment of school, lower school belongingness, and lower beliefs that teachers treat youth fairly. Sudden loss is common among adolescents and has important implications for school functioning. Schools may improve academic functioning by adopting routine screening for sudden loss and assessing potential need for bereavement-informed mental health services.
Prior research shows that many teachers feel ill-equipped to deal with students experiencing loss, and teachers of Black male adolescents, in particular, sometimes mistake grieving for misbehavior. This multimethod case study investigated the way teachers and their Black male students at a single-sex school related around encounters with loss. We examined students' and teachers' grief experiences through stories that were shared during qualitative interviews and focus group meetings and by observing everyday interactions throughout the school building. Additionally, a survey was distributed to the senior class and school staff asking respondents to report their experiences with loss, grief, and relational support. We found that both groups shared a desire to forge relationships for grief support and that both students and teachers also felt their emotional needs were unacknowledged at times. We also documented many successful moments when the strength of a personal bond between student and teacher eased the pain of a significant personal loss. In this article, we argue that specific relational strategies, as outlined within the model of relational teaching and learning, can be effective for supporting students through periods of grief and can, in turn, also positively impacts teachers' own recovery from loss. Furthermore, we propose that school psychologists can play a critical role in supporting the relationship building between students and teachers, particularly in under-resourced schools without enough mental health personnel.
School psychologists are in a unique position to both identify and work with grieving students; to provide guidance to schools, families, and peers on approaches to support such children and youth; and to offer training to classroom educators so that they are better prepared to support grieving students. Yet, there has been minimal research published on this topic in professional journals. This special section of School Psychology Quarterly is devoted to grief and loss with the hope of beginning to narrow this gap in the literature. The three articles in this special section add to an evolving evidence-base that grief in children is common and the impact can be profound, that school professionals can and should play a major role in supporting grieving children, and that school psychologists can play a key role in empowering classroom educators and other school professionals so that no child in the future has to grieve alone.
The objective was to characterize the relation between different sources of school-based social support (friends, peers, and teachers) and bereaved siblings' grief and grief-related growth and to examine whether nonparental sources of social support buffer the effects of low parent support on bereaved siblings. Families (N = 85) were recruited from cancer registries at 3 pediatric institutions 3-12 months after a child's death. Bereaved siblings were 8-18 years old (M = 12.39, SD = 2.65) and majority female (58%) and White (74%). During home visits, siblings reported their perceptions of social support from parental and nonparental sources using the Social Support Scale for Children, as well as grief and grief-related growth using the Hogan Sibling Inventory of Bereavement. Parent, friend, and teacher support were positively correlated with grief-related growth, whereas parent and peer support were negatively correlated with grief for adolescents. Teacher and friend support significantly moderated the association between parent support and grief such that teacher and friend support accentuated the positive effects of parent support. Friend and peer support moderated associations between parent support and grief/growth for adolescents but not children. School-based social support, namely from friends, peers, and teachers, appears to facilitate the adjustment of bereaved siblings. Findings suggest that bereaved siblings may benefit from enhanced support from teachers and friends regardless of age, with middle/high school students particularly benefitting from increased support from close friends and peers.
BACKGROUND: Illness, lack of vocabulary and unwillingness to discuss emotional distress may contribute to poor communication with children. Drawings may play a crucial role in enhancing communication with this patient group.
AIM: This study aimed to describe the pictures drawn by primary school learners in the children's palliative care programme in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and to evaluate whether drawings can be used to assess emotional wellbeing.
METHODS: Drawings were assessed according to standardised human figure drawing guidelines and emotional indicator (EI) scales. Pictures were discussed with the child and compared with the clinical presence of depression or emotional discomfort.
RESULTS: A total of 29 pictures drawn by 20 children were assessed. Of the 20 participants, 18 were boys, with a mean age of 10.2 years, and 12 children were assessed as having clinical depression.
CONCLUSIONS: The presence of two or more EIs, small pictures or pictures in dark colours may indicate clinical depression. Health professionals are advised not to try to interpret the picture, but to use the picture to enhance communication. Let the child explain the picture, rather than relying only on the assessment tool.