Coping with illness, death or loss


Talking to young people about death or illness

When someone in the family is very ill or has died, everyone copes differently and even adults often find it difficult to express how they feel. Sometimes, as well as sadness, there may be other emotions such as anger or guilt. There are several charities that specifically offer support and guidance for young people who have experienced a death in the family- many of these also have helplines as well as stories from other families.

For young people: If someone close to you has a serious illness

For young people: If someone close to you has died

  • Grief and loss finding support if you’re finding it hard to cope
  • The Good Grief Trust  Advice and links to finding support locally including pop-up cafes. There are also videos, blogs and suggestions on the young people’s page from children and young people who have lost someone they love.
  • Hope Again is the young people’s website from Cruse with personal stories, videos and the chance to add your own story if you would like to.
  • Child Bereavement UK Read stories from other young people who have lost a parent or someone else close to them
  • Grief Encounter A charity supporting children and young people through bereavement. They also have a helpline called Grieftalk which is open Monday to Friday 9 am to 9 pm, plus the possibility of chatting online, posting memories or receiving support by text.
  • Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide with a specific page for those under 18 who have lost someone through suicide.
  • The Cariad Lloyd Griefcast  ” is a podcast that examines the human experience of grief and death – but with comedians, so it’s cheerier than it sounds”. Cariad lost her father when she was just 15 years old and started this podcast years later.

Support for families and more helplines

  • Winstons wish
    Supporting children and young people after a death or when someone in the family is dying. Very good at explaining some of the misunderstandings that can arise for children when adults talk about death. They have a helpline and you can also e-mail for support and advice. Leaflets are available to download in English, Swedish, Polish, Arabic, Bengali and Spanish.
  • Child Bereavement 
    A charity with resources for young people and parents including some stories, advice on explaining funerals and leaflets produced by families for children of different ages (under 7yrs, 7-11yrs and young people) For 11-25-year-olds they have also produced an App about bereavement and grief which has links for local support and some short films.
  • Cruse A national bereavement charity with a website section for children including some tips on coping written by children themselves
  • Marie Curie Support Directory for parents, children and young people
  • See also the charities in the young people’s section above




  • Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle.A tender story of a ten-year-old girl coming to terms with her mother’s death.
  • The Good Grief Trust library has a list of books chosen by others who have experienced bereavement – for young adults 
  • Winston’s Wish charity has produced some excellent books about grief, serious illness and death (including death by suicide) including a book specifically aimed at teenagers; “You Just Don’t Understand: Supporting Bereaved Teenagers”. These books can be purchased on Amazon and proceeds go to the charity or directly on the charity website
  • Bridge to Terabitha by Katherine Paterson (10+ years) 
  • Clownfish by Alan Durant is about Daks’ dad who reappears as a clownfish after having died a week earlier: “a moving and funny story about friendship and life after loss’ 9+ years. Available at your local library as part of the Reading Well scheme.
  • Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson (10+ years) is about a girl moving on after her friend’s death – sad, heartwarming and funny. 


  • Apart of Me App: award-winning App designed as a game to help children come to terms with loss and grief.