Windmills - Acute Bereavement Support For Children and Young People In Staffordshire

Windmills - Acute Bereavement Support For Children and Young People In Staffordshire

At a glance

Causes

  • Children / families
  • Counselling / advice
  • Health and well being / research and care
  • Local / community
  • Mental health
  • Young people

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
Local

Objectives

Windmills is a young and successful charity that provides the expert, supportive one-to-one care that helps children and young people experiencing the imminent or recent death of a loved one, to find a caring and positive pathway through their grieving, which enables strong, loving and sustaining memories to be built, and death’s impacts to be managed and appeased.

Windmills nurses will often be the first ones to share with a child the news about the death, or its imminence of a loved-one. There are no other specialist acute bereavement services available in the Staffordshire region (either charity or NHS) that provide the direct caring service and memory making therapies that are unique to Windmills.

The charity is called Windmills because it turns the impact of death for the vulnerable child from one of destructive negativity to one of managed positivity. 

Families can often feel uncomfortable talking about death with their children and the subject can become taboo, leaving the child even more confused and uninformed.  This lack of communication with the child can be the opposite of what’s best for them, not talking about important issues and events can be more harmful than talking about them. For sensitive, vulnerable, and confused children the impacts and emotional response to death can become even more devastating because of this lack of information,  understanding and preparation.When children are excluded from such difficult conversations they will begin to shape and imagine all manner of misinterpretations and unfounded thoughts as to why the death occurred or why it is happening – often these misconceptions can result in the child thinking that it was their fault because “they were” bad.

Facing the sudden reality or news of the death of such a loved one can be deeply traumatic and disorientating for the surviving child. Often the response is a cauldron of confusions and emotions; anger, disbelief, guilt, anguish, withdrawal, detachment and numbing fears for all that is yet to come. Without  expert and trusted care and support such responses can irrevocably scar and derail a young person’s life and outlook and negatively shape their relationships, not only with death itself, but with life and living, themselves, their family, and their friends and the wider community.

The impact of the Windmills service and care will not negate death’s devastation in the lives and minds of those children who become victim to it, but it can manage and calm and, through building strong new memories, begin to pave the positive, fond pathway away from it.

Our founding nurses see the impact of their work and approach with so many of their young, distressed charges.  The gradual change from grieving despair to a new and managed fond remembrance and resilience of heart. It is a service of care that changes young lives.

Activities

Each child is given the time and care they need to help begin to come to terms and an understanding of the impact that death brings to their lives. For some children this will be a few sessions, for others it will be many sessions over a longer period.

A key outcome for these care sessions is that the child begins to understand and accept the reality and inevitability of death, and to begin to build a more positive and stronger memory of the loved-one. This is done by talking, by being there, by confronting the situation and sharing and working with the child to create sustaining memory boxes and memorial portfolios, and so establish a more positive, managed, and permanent memory of the loved one.

Whilst our focus is on helping children and young people understand and process the death of someone significant in their lives, our support encompasses the whole family. We support and equip parents and other adults in the family with tools and ways of communicating with children about death and dying. Our work creating Memory Boxes also gives adults a communication tool to start conversations with their children.

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