Grief & Loss Resources for Children
The death of a family member or friend is painful for children and teenagers just as it is for adults. Children may not have experienced a loss before. They may not understand what the loss or their reaction means. They may be unsure how to act or respond. Even children who have had prior losses will still be deeply affected. Grief is the natural response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or some living thing that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. It is both a universal and personal experience. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, grief also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical dimensions.
Some things to remember as you navigate through grief:
- Talking with your children about death is especially difficult when you’re dealing with your own grief.
- It is upsetting to see your children struggle with loss.
- It is okay to show your feelings.
- You can help your children understand what has happened.
- No child is too young to be affected by the death of someone close.
- Invite older children and youth to talk.
- Children often feel guilty after a death has occurred.
- Children may appear selfish and immature after a personal loss.
- Invite children to participate in funerals and other memorial services.
- Provide support over time.
- Talk to your children’s teachers.
- Talk to your children’s pediatrician or other health care professionals.
- Grieving can last a lifetime but should not consume a life.
Spectrum CARES - 882-HELP (4357)
Emergency outreach for children up to age 17
Kid's Helpline - 834-1144 or 1-877-KIDS-400
Confidential kids' crisis line
Crisis Services - 834-3131
Emergency outreach for individuals age 18+
Text "MHA" to 741741
CPEP at ECMC - 716.898.3465
Emergency psychiatric evaluation
Central Referral - 211
Local Mental Health Agencies
Gateway-Longview Behavioral Health Clinic
Spectrum Health & Human Services
Kaleida Health Children's Psychiatry Center