‘Powerful’ resource pack for bereaved parents to be launched

Anam Cara is an All-Ireland organisation
Anam Cara is an All-Ireland organisation

Anam Cara, the all­-Ireland organisation that provides support services to bereaved parents and families, will on September 7th in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, launch a powerful resource pack that aims to support newly bereaved parents and offer a sense of hope at the start of their tough and difficult journey.

Each resource pack contains specific information on what helped other bereaved parents to get through the first weeks and months of bereavement – written by bereaved parents themselves.

Founded in 2008, Anam Cara Donegal meets every month in the Mount Errigal in Letterkenny, affording bereaved parents from Donegal, Derry and north Tyrone a safe and comfortable setting where they can meet other bereaved parents.

Importantly, Anam Cara is open to all bereaved parents, regardless of the age or circumstances of their child’s death, or whether the death was recent or not.

As it happens, the next Anam Cara monthly meeting takes place just the day after the launch, on September 8th from 7.30-­9pm, also in the Mount Errigal. The meeting is open to bereaved mothers and fathers only.

The launch, which takes place on the 7th at 11am, is open to professionals such as chaplains, social workers, funeral directors, priests, An Garda Síochána, HR managers, palliative care teams, counsellors and nurses. Representatives from over 30 organisations have already confirmed that they will attend, with a third of those coming from Northern Ireland.

The Information Pack has been very well received by those who occasionally find themselves supporting bereaved families.

“This is an excellent resource”, said Garda Sergeant Alan Keane from the National Community Policing Office. “This beautiful pack is very gentle and easy to read so I’m grateful to have it as a resource”, offered Sabina Christensen, Senior Clinical Psychologist in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.

Anam Cara is urging all frontline professionals who come into contact with newly bereaved parents to get in touch with them to confirm attendance at the launch or to request a delivery of free resource packs. In this way they will always have the information on hand to give to newly bereaved parents when they need it most. Packs can be requested by emailing info@anamcara.ie or calling Anam Cara’s Information Line on 085 2888 888.

There are seven booklets in the resource pack, which is aimed at supporting parents and siblings in a newly bereaved family – A Dad’s Grief, A Mum’s Grief, Adult Siblings, Coping with the Sudden Death of My Child, Milestones and Challenges, Self­Care and Supporting My Family.

Sharon Vard, CEO, Anam Cara, said: “It is so important to ensure that any parent who is suffering the terrible and unimaginable ordeal of losing a child knows that Anam Cara is here to help. Our packs are a powerful resource for any family experiencing the death of a child, irrespective of whether the child was a baby or a grown adult. Newly bereaved parents need others to put this information in to their hands at the earliest stage of their bereavement journey.

They are very fragile in the first few months and may not have the energy to pick up the phone or actively look for help.

“Newly bereaved parents and families need the support of those who have suffered a similar experience and learned to cope again, they need reassurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that they too will be able to emerge from the depths of despair and start living and enjoying life again.”

In September last year, Anam Cara launched a suite of videos that greatly compliment the resource packs. There are five videos in the suite, which can be viewed at anamcara.ie/videos –The Death of a Child, The Grieving Family, A Dad’s Grief, Sudden and Traumatic Death and About Anam Cara. The videos include interviews with bereaved parents who share their experiences and offer advice on surviving the intense grief after the death of their child. The final video in the suite, About Anam Cara, introduces the Anam Cara group and explores the support services that it provides to parents and families who are managing bereavement every day.

Anam Cara is a voluntary support organisation set up by bereaved parents to support bereaved parents throughout Ireland. For more information on its services please visit www.anamcara.ie or call its information line 085 2888 888. Donations of €2 can be made by texting REMEMBER to 50300. For larger donations please visit http://anamcara.ie/donate/