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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Vital resources for grief-stricken students

School counsellors across the Hunter have been equipped with greater skills and knowledge to support students going through a tough time.

The National Centre for Childhood Grief (NCCG) delivered a free workshop at the University of Newcastle’s NeW Space campus last week to increase awareness around the needs of bereaved children.

The Greater Charitable Foundation has partnered with the NCCG, committing $40,000 over the next 12 months to help distribute Grief Resource Packs to 200 rural and regional schools throughout the state.

St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock’s wellbeing coordinator, Aaron Hodges, who attended the session, said the NCCG’s resource packs would be invaluable in the bid to educate staff on how to manage, and support, children and young people.

“We have more than 1,000 students across years K-12 that all respond differently when faced with situations involving loss or grief,” he said.

“It is our role as caregivers to recognise when these children are suffering and be armed with the skills and knowledge to help them work through their bereaved state and manage their emotions.
“This is the first time, as a wellbeing coordinator, I have had access to a tailored set of resources and a training program specifically focused on grief and loss to help navigate age appropriate methods of assisting children facing devastating life circumstances, such as separation of parents, which is probably the most common issue we see arise.”

The NCCG is Australia’s only provider of free and unlimited specialist bereavement counselling to children and teenagers.

Clinical director, Dr Elizabeth Mann, said its programs and resources were internationally recognised and had assisted teachers, parents and carers for more than two decades.

“This year, NCCG celebrates its 25th anniversary and, in this time, has established and maintained a free and unlimited service that provides grieving children with much-needed support and [the] resources they need to learn to manage their grief and go on to live fulfilling lives,” Dr Mann said.

Visit childhoodgrief.org.au for more information on the NCCG and the educational resources available.

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