Bereaved families back campaign by Derian House Children's Hospice tackling stigma around child loss

Video report by Claire Hannah

Bereaved parents say they have "lost friends" and people "cross the street to avoid them", according to a new study on child loss.

The research - conducted by Derian House Children's Hospice in Chorley - found more than eight out of 10 parents who have lost a child "feel sad" that people don't speak about the children who have died.

It's thought to be one of the largest studies of bereaved parents in the UK in recent years, including data from 70 families whose loss spans more than 20 years.

The biggest conclusion from the study found grieving parents desperately want others to talk about their child, and "avoiding the subject" was worse than anything someone could say.

One parent in the research said: "We're in a group that nobody wants to be a part of.

“When I go out with my friends who have children as soon as I talk about my child who has died it becomes so awkward and uncomfortable for them. I feel so out of place at times."

Derian House are using the results of the survey to educate the public and professionals on how they can help bereaved families, including its “Say my Child’s Name” campaign.

Guide to speaking to bereaved parents Credit: Derian House

The campaign uses the words of families who have experienced child loss to create a practical how-to guide for friends and family to help them navigate the subject.

Kiki Deville's son Dexter was one month and three days old when he died of Zellweger Syndrome in 2007.

Kiki Deville spoke to Gamal Fahnbulleh and Zoe Muldoon in the studio

Kiki is now a Patron of Derian House and said: "When your child dies, after a while nobody says their name anymore, and that really hurts.

“What we desperately want people to know is that speaking about our child won’t upset us or remind us that they’re gone – we are always thinking about them anyway.

"To a bereaved parent, our child’s name is the sweetest word in the whole world and we love nothing more than speaking about them.”

Karen Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of Derian House, said: "Nobody wants to upset someone whose child has died and so many people opt for the safe option and say nothing.

"What our families have told us is that this is the worst thing they could do – it makes them feel isolated and hurt.

"We are committed to spreading the Say my Child’s Name message, not only to help our families, but also to provide a useful resource for the general public and professionals.”

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