The death of a child is one of life’s most devastating experiences. The grief may be overwhelming, last longer, and involve understandable questions around justness and fairness. Many of these resources and services are provided to bereaved parents and families by people who have been through the experience themselves.
Where to start
You may like to try the free MyGrief App. This tool asks you a series of questions and then provides you with tailored strategies for dealing with your bereavement challenges. Developed by the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement and available for use on Apple and Android mobile devices.
- After the Loss of a Child: Resource for Parents of Children in Palliative Care - A support guide for parents by the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement. This covers topics from talking to siblings before death, what to do after death, what to expect when grieving, and when to seek help.
- The Bereavement Portal homepage has additional resources, including practical information on what to do after a death of a family member and taking time to look after yourself.
Finding someone to talk with
If you are feeling overwhelmed and distressed, your GP may suggest you work with a qualified mental health professional with experience in grief therapy. You may be given a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan which allows you to claim a Medicare rebate for up to 10 psychological sessions per calendar year. (Note: Currently extended to 20 sessions until 30 June 2022 as part of the Government’s pandemic support initiative.)
Your GP may refer you to a specific psychologist in your area or you may wish to find your own. You can do this using the Find a Psychologist online directory (Australian Psychological Society). Search by type of issue, area of practice and geographic area.
Information provided includes:
- Contact details
- A profile of each therapist including their therapeutic approaches
- Fees and/or Medicare rebate eligibility
- Telehealth availability.
Some palliative care services also provide bereavement support to family members after the death of a loved one. Contact the service to ask if this is the case.
Other forms of personal support
- Sands - Miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death support. Experienced volunteers can be contacted by national helpline, email, or live chat. Face-to-face support group meetings are also available.
- Guiding Light: Red Nose Grief and Loss - For parents and their families who have suffered the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child. Trained counsellors are available to talk by phone 24/7 or via email or online chat during set hours. Also provides information, brochures, and booklets to download, video stories to watch online, and separate online communities for men and women.
- RedKite: Bereavement Support - For anyone connected to a child who died of cancer, regardless of when the loss occurred. Offers bereavement counselling in person as well as by phone, video, and email. Some financial assistance also available to help with funeral costs or bills in the year after a child’s death.
- The Compassionate Friends: South Australia - Brochures, phone support from another bereaved parent, monthly face-to-face support group meetings, and workshops on topics such as mindfulness, meditation, quilting, and scrapbooking.
- Pillars of Strength - A community of bereaved fathers providing peer support and events for other bereaved fathers and their supporters.