Browser does not support script.
Skip to main content
Give us a break! is an eight-week programme for young people aged 10–14 who are coping with negative change in their lives. Produced by South Lanarkshire Council Psychological Services and NHS Lanarkshire, the programme acknowledges
that loss and grief are a normal part of life and are unique to each individual.
We were asked to identify three areas of concern and everyone raised the lack of bereavement resources. It was acknowledged there was a wealth of research available along with existing high-quality materials, but it was felt that these didn’t meet the full range of social and emotional needs of young people.
Sitting next to me was a colleague I’d never met before – Jean Aitken, a Macmillan Palliative Care Counsellor working within NHS Lanarkshire. Inspired by the strength of feeling expressed by the practitioners, Jean and I made a commitment to work together to address this gap. We knew we would both have to turn to our organisations for help - Jean to Macmillan and me to the local authority.
Throughout the group sessions, young people have the opportunity to tell their story and speak about their feelings. They learn to understand the changes in their lives and how they feel about these. They also gain support from other young people who have been through similar experiences.
The knowledge base of key practitioners would not have been extended, and young people would not have benefitted from being involved in the Give us a break! groups. The programme is receiving national interest and won the best team award from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities| in March.
A number of Scottish local authorities have requested training and we have an excellent and passionate training team, which includes: Anne Murphy (one of the original authors) and Lisa Cunningham, Educational Psychologists at Psychological Services and Tracy Stephen, Clinical Team Manager at NHS Lanarkshire.
The DVD we made helps colleagues understand what the programme offers and a Give us a break! website is in development.
‘When my dad died, I was really upset and I found it really hard to come to terms with. One of my teachers suggested I attend the group, which I did every week. I didn’t really know the people in the group when I started going, but I’m really good friends with some of them now,’ Bethany says.
‘Everyone in the group was around the same age as me and I found it really easy to talk to them about how I felt about my dad’s death. It helped a lot to know that there were other people who felt the same and I wasn’t the only one this had happened to.’
Christopher Rinn, 15, of East Kilbride, attended Give us a break! after he struggled to come to terms with the death of his mother three years earlier, and then later his grandmother.
He was referred to the group by his guidance teacher at St Andrew’s and St Bride’s School. Christopher, who is now giving talks at his school to bereaved children on the benefit of attending the group, said, ‘When my mum died, I felt sad and a bit depressed. This was something which really hit me when my gran also died a year later.
More from the latest edition of Mac Voice|
Macmillan Learn Zone|
Macmillan Online Community|
Writing an article for Mac Voice?
Download top tips|
Tel 020 7091 2219
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
what are these?|