Hillarys: Lionheart camp to help kids deal with grief and loss

480585 - Shelly Skinner with Roy - a doll that helps answer some of the medical questions children at the camp may have regarding their experience.
480585 - Shelly Skinner with Roy - a doll that helps answer some of the medical questions children at the camp may have regarding their experience.

CHILDREN who are grieving the death of a loved one will get specialised support at a free camp held in Hillarys next month.

The two-day Lionheart camp from April 18-19 at Ern Halliday Recreation Camp has been designed to help children aged five to 12 years old deal with loss.

Launched last year, the camp offers bereaved children who have lost a parent, sibling or primary care-giver age-specific grief support.

Following the success of the 2017 event, program director Shelly Skinner has urged families to apply online to attend this year’s camp.

“One in 20 children experience the death of a parent during childhood – with similar statistics for the death of a sibling – and the reality is that most if not all of these kids will need emotional and physical support beyond that which those around them can provide,” she said.

“It’s really important to seek out that support because international research shows children who lose a parent or sibling – whether it’s sudden or expected – are more likely to experience higher levels of depression and anxiety, other health problems and accidents, and poorer school performance, lower self esteem, and less optimism about succeeding later in life.”

Ms Skinner said the camps were an uplifting, safe space for families to learn about the process of grief and share their experiences.

“Providing the opportunity to connect with other children in a similar situation can have a profound positive impact and the camps are also about skilling up parents to support their children while they’re also figuring out how to best manage their own grief,” she said.

“We’re urging any companies keen to help cover the cost of a regional family travelling to Perth for the camp to make contact with us on 0481 199 758.”

To register, visit lionheartcampforkids.com.au.

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