Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Dying Matters week and National Mental Health Awareness week and there has been considerable coverage in the media. Grief is not a mental health issue, and not everyone who is bereaved will experience any mental ill health; however, bereavement and grief can be a trigger for mental health problems. Where there are previous mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression, these may be exacerbated by a bereavement, but not always.

A bereavement will often leave someone with a deep sadness that seems to go on for a long time. Feelings of not being able to cope and being overwhelmed with an intensity of different emotions associated with grief can feel very alien and even frightening, but they are normal grief reactions and need not develop into mental health problems.

A message that both campaigns, Dying Matters and Mental Health Awareness week, share is the importance of talking about how you are feeling and not shutting it away. Bereaved children and adults need to be encouraged to talk about the death and associated feelings in order to try and make sense of them. The waves of grief can often feel overwhelming but talking about them to someone will help. Initially remembering the person who has died can be really painful but talking about them is key to children and adults coming to terms with the death. In time such conversations will turn to happier memories associated with the person.

Dying Matters are holding a series of events this week asking #areweready? - highlighting the importance of talking about death and dying. National Mental Health Awareness week includes programming on BBC radio and television about depression, anxiety and psychosis.

About SeeSaw

SeeSaw provides grief support for children, young people and their families in Oxfordshire.  Through appropriate and timely support, SeeSaw can help to reduce the emotional, psychological and mental health consequences of bereavement.  Young people are then able to face the future with hope.

It can be difficult to know what to say to a child when someone has died. Here are some guidelines to help you to talk to your child. 

SeeSaw offers:

  • Telephone consultations to any parent or professional who is concerned about a bereaved child.
  • Home visits to families to assess their needs and talk about ways in which SeeSaw might be able to help.    
  • Tailored individual support for children and young people when needed. This often involves one-to-one sessions with a support worker and takes place where the child is most comfortable – in their own home.    
  • Specialist support to families and professionals when a parent or sibling is dying.        
  • Family events and activity days which enable children, young people and their families to meet together in a fun and relaxed way.      
  • Information and training to school staff when they are supporting a bereaved child in the classroom or managing a death in the school community.     
  • Training, consultancy and resources to professionals working with bereaved children and young people. 

If you are worried about a bereaved child in your care then please call the friendly SeeSaw team for help, advice and guidance on 01865 744768 or email SeeSaw


You can view the latest edition of the SeeSaw e-newsletter here. You can subscribe to our email newsletters here to hear our latest news and fundraising activities.