Description and Evaluation of a French Grief-Workshop for Children and Adolescents Bereaved of a Sibling or Parent
Background: Childhood bereavement is common, and is associated with elevated symptoms of grief with distress and impairment. However, few developmentally appropriate interventions to support grieving children are available to date. We developed an innovative 4-session group intervention to support grieving families and evaluated its feasibility and acceptability. Methods: The workshop consists of four sessions over four months, open to children bereaved of a sibling or parent, and
... , and co-facilitated by two mental health professionals. After an intake assessment, children were placed into closed groups according to age and relation to the deceased. The session content was balanced between creative activities and grief-related discussions. Overall satisfaction was evaluated in March-April of 2020 by an 8-question online survey of children and parents having participated between 2011 and 2019. Freeform commentaries were analysed using thematic synthesis process. Results: Of the 230 emails sent in March 2020, 46 children and 81 parents agreed to participate (55% response rate). The families reported an overall high level of satisfaction regarding the intervention that was rated as good to excellent. A majority of respondents considered their participation in the workshop helpful and in accordance with their expectations. Most would recommend the workshop to a friend, and would participate again in the group if needed. The group intervention helped reduce social isolation, facilitated grief expression, and supported the creation of a sense of community among bereaved families. Conclusions: Encouraging community and mutual support among grieving families is fundamental in bereavement care. Our 4-session workshop held over 4 months and led by mental health professionals aimed to help reduce social isolation and foster coping skills through artistic creation and group discussion. Our results highlight the potential need for family bereavement support over a longer period and a provision of a variety of services. Our intervention model is feasible for families, and further studies examining its efficacy are warranted.