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Would you know how to support a friend if someone important to them died?

17th - 24th November 2023

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Total votes


Age 5-11 votes


Age 11-16+ votes

To mark Children’s Grief Awareness Week, voters considered what peer support looks like when it comes to bereavement. They reflected on the different actions we can take to be there for our loved ones, and considered how confident they would feel putting these into practice should they need to.

Loss & Support Child

Age 5-11 voter

“I know what makes my friends happy and what I could do to make them feel better. You can empathise with them if you know what it feels like.”

Loss & Support Teen

Age 11-16 voter

“You don't know what to do, remind them of that person but they might cry. Talk about a separate topic but it might remind them of that person.”

Loss & Support Student

Age 16+ voter

“We established that it is very important to make sure that we provide the support that the person wants/needs, but that this will be different for different people.”

81% of Primary pupils said they know how to support a friend experiencing bereavement.

  • The greatest majority came from Primary pupils for this VoteTopic, with over 80% voting 'Yes' to the question, "Would you know how to support a friend if someone important to them died?"
  • That left just under 1/5 of Primary pupils, who voted 'No'
65% of Secondary, College & 16+ students agreed, voting 'Yes'.

  • A slimmer majority, at 65% of Secondary, College and 16+ students voted 'Yes' to the same question: "Would you know how to support a friend if someone important to them died?"
  • This left 35% voting 'No'; many of the 'No' commenters argued that they would be worried about saying the wrong thing and further upsetting their friend.
Some 'Yes' voters said they could empathise as they had experienced loss themselves.

  • Some voters shared their own experiences of loss and explained that this would help them to empathise with their friend and know the right thing to say.
  • Many 'Yes' voters argued that the support people experiencing loss need varies and it is important to ask them how you can support them best.