CHUMS offer specialist bereavement support to children and young people from 3½ up until their 26th birthday in Kent and Medway.

Specialist support is needed when a child or young person is experiencing complicated grief or traumatic bereavement. This might mean that it is extra hard for them to manage the death and so it is having an enduring negative impact on everyday life. This might be because of the way the person died or because various other factors are disrupting their ability to grieve. Children and young people who need specialist support are likely to be experiencing difficulties such as:

  • Prolonged periods of being low and withdrawn

  • Anxiety that prevents them from doing things they would normally do

  • High levels of frustration that impact on relationships and daily life

  • Struggling with thoughts or images about the death

  • Being unable to tolerate thinking or speaking about their bereavement.

This Specialist Bereavement Service is established from a wide range of experienced, trained professionals and volunteers. Support will be tailored to provide evidence-based interventions to children and young people through 1:1, group and drop-in sessions.


CHUMS Specialist Bereavement Service Offer Support Through:

  • Individual sessions by bereavement-trained staff. Our standard offer is 6 sessions followed by a review of further need.

  • Specialist bereavement groups for parents/carers, children and young people

  • Drop-in sessions

  • Telephone advice

  • Bereavement literature

Referrals Criteria

  • For those aged between 3.5 years to 25 years (up to their 26th birthday)

  • Resident of Kent

  • Registered with a Kent and Medway GP practice

  • Experiencing acute grieving distress, linked to one or multiple bereavements

  • The most recent bereavement has occurred no less than 6 months ago

  • For those whose main presenting need is related to the bereavement

  • Professionals must have first obtained consent to refer a child, young person or young adult into the service. A referral cannot proceed without either the parent or young person consenting.

We are unable to work with:

  • Children/young people/young adults who are currently receiving support from other bereavement counselling services

  • Children/young people/young adults who are receiving mental health intervention from another agency or service. We would advise that any mental health intervention required is completed before making a referral to our service

  • Where there are any ongoing legal proceedings or social care assessments being undertaken, we would recommend any legal or social care issues are resolved before making a referral to our service. This is to ensure the service users has sufficient current stability in their daily lives to undertaken a bereavement focused intervention

  • Children/young people/young adults who are experiencing high levels of mental distress and/or engaging in behaviours which place themselves or others at significant risk of harm. CHUMS is not a Crisis service and we do not provide emergency support

  • Where a Children/young people/young adult is presenting with complex or high levels of need associated with mental health presentations, we would advise a referral to an appropriate mental health service

  • Where a child or young person is affected by social or environmental complexities which require stabilisation before a bereavement-focused piece of work would be deemed appropriate. In such cases, we may recommend a re-referral at a later time, when they may be more ready to engage.

Referral Criteria

Referrals can be made online using our referral forms

Make a Referral

Additional Bereavement Service Providers


Amparo is a free and confidential service and offers practical and emotional support for anyone bereaved by suicide in Kent and Medway.

Visit Website

Cruse Bereavement Care

Leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Visit Website

Holding On Letting Go

Provides support across Kent and Medway to children and young people up to the age of 18
who have experienced a significant bereavement or where a family member has a terminal diagnosis.

Visit Website

Slide Away

Pre and post bereavement service for children and young people in Kent.

Visit Website

Service User Testimonial

“I was lucky to have been offered a place in the bereavement group, I really enjoyed the group and came away with lots of great advice and book recommendations. J was a great host and made sure everyone was involved and answered any questions we had very well. The group helped me with my grief too as well as offering invaluable advice for my Son. I’m so grateful.”

Service User Testimonial

“Just taking a few minutes to pass on my thoughts regarding the support given by CHUMS to my son J. Having suffered multiple family bereavements, issues at school contributed to J becoming withdrawn and feeling rather isolated. The sessions in my opinion benefitted J greatly and allowed him to discuss matters he may not want to discuss with me.”

Service User Testimonial

“It was helpful to understand that it’s not just my child going through it and it helped in understanding my child’s behaviour. And, for me that how I am feeling is not out of the ordinary, there is no time limit and that it is not unusual for my feelings to keep cropping up years later”

Service User Testimonial

“I enjoyed the fun things we did and the clay throwing”

Service User Testimonial

“Russ took the time to explain ways to help; very thoughtful. I can’t thank Russ enough, how he helped through a very hard time. Thank you again for the fantastic support that you have given ******. You have helped me approach things in a way that I wouldn’t have thought of before and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to give ********** the understanding before this. It’s been a tough time and I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been if ********* felt misunderstood and I couldn’t support her in the new approach”

Service User Testimonial

“They listened to us”

Service User Testimonial

“Very good service. Children have really enjoyed being here and have felt in a safe environment to talk about things. Also gives them confidence to know they are not alone, and others are also experiencing loss”

Service User Testimonial

“Doing the memory jar and the painting”

Service User Testimonial

“I believe it has helped me for the first time I felt understood and got to meet other people going through the same thing that I was facing at the moment”

Service User Testimonial

“Making the memory jar”

Service User Videos

Bereavement Training for Schools, Professionals and Volunteers

CHUMS also provide training to professionals in health and social care, education, and the voluntary and corporate sectors, preparing them to provide the best possible care to bereaved families. Please see our website for more information or contact

Bereavement Information for School Staff

Resources & Information

CHUMS Specialist Bereavement

CHUMS Kent & Medway Specialist Bereavement Service

Download PDF

General Bereavement

Telling a Child/Young Person Someone has Died

Download PDF

Talking to Children/Young People when someone is Seriously Ill

Download PDF

COVID Bereavement

Telling a Child/Young Person someone has died from Coronavirus

Download PDF

Breaking the News to Children/Young People when someone is seriously ill with Coronavirus

Download PDF

COVID 19 – Guidance for Families who may not be able to attend a Funeral

Download PDF

Saying Goodbye Animation

Watch Video

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support in Kent & Medway

Kent & Medway Mental Wellbeing Information Hub

Wellbeing Hub

Kent Resilience Hub

Supporting young people to cope better with the pressures of everyday life

Kent Resilience Hub


Online mental health community for all 10-25 year olds in Kent

Live Well Kent – Mental Health and Wellbeing

Live Well Kent

Mind and Body – Kent

Free support for young people, and their families with mental health and self-harm.
Intervention support for ages 13 to 25yr olds

Mind & Body

One You Kent – Health and Wellbeing

One You Kent

Open Road

Leading drug and alcohol support service based in Essex and Medway
supporting individuals, families and communities.

Open Road

Porchlight Adolescent Wellbeing Service

Free support to children and young people to improve issues related to mental health and emotional wellbeing. For those aged 13 and above


With You

With You – Young Person drugs and alcohol support

With You

Other Helpful Bereavement Resources

At a Loss

At a Loss

Bereavement Advice Centre

Bereavement Advice Centre

Bereavement Support Payment

Bereavement Support Payment

The Childhood Bereavement Network

Hub supporting bereaved children and young people.

CBN Website

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice

Grief Encounter

Grief Encounter

Macmillan Cancer Support


The Samaritans

The Samaritans

Turn to Us

Turn to Us

Recommended Book List

Download Book List