This Scottish charity helps children who’ve lost a younger sibling

Published on 10.06.21

Content: this is a story about the work of a charity that supports families who have lost a baby or young child suddenly and unexpectedly. We refer to some of the events and feelings that parents and siblings may go through. Please take care, don’t feel like you need to read this one if it might be upsetting, and if you are looking for support – there are links on our Get Help page for someone to talk to.

Scottish Cot Death Trust received a Tiny Changes grant in 2020.

SCDT was founded in 1985 and is the only charity in Scotland dedicated to the sudden unexpected death of babies and young children. Based in Glasgow, this small team of dedicated staff and volunteers and their services can be accessed anywhere in Scotland. Their work focuses on finding the answers through funding research, providing support for bereaved families, and educating the public and professionals about sudden unexpected death in infants (SUDI).

To lose a child can only be one of the saddest and most traumatic things that can happen to a family.  To lose a child, a brother or a sister, suddenly and without warning, brings with it a heightened sense of loss and confusion.

Losing a younger sibling is frightening and sometimes very lonely.

When a baby or young child has died suddenly, it’s likely that children would have seen their parents try to save their sibling and seen many paramedics or police officers in their home. Individualised support for every young person who goes through a traumatic experience like this is crucial to their recovery and moving forward. When there are no answers for why a baby died, going to sleep can feel scary and children may worry about themselves and other family members dying.

It’s hard to express how important this charity is to those children and young people, and their future.

Professional help, speaking to a support worker, and resources to help explain why things are different in the family not only help children, but grieving parents too.  Bereavement books and activities can provide a positive outlet for emotions and enable adults to ‘check in’ with children without asking them directly how they are – because this can shut down conversations.

“A big thank you to Tiny Changes for helping us keep young people connected with the support they need.”

Scottish Cot Death Trust

The team went digital that no child missing a sibling was left alone during the pandemic.

Bereaved families across Scotland benefited from this funding as they were able to keep in regular contact with their support worker and access additional resources at home.

Online and telephone contact with a dedicated support worker was put in place for all families, and counselling is being delivered online or by telephone.  SCDT also organised an virtual family support day with fun activities and time set aside for the children to remember their brothers and sisters.

Online support proved to be so popular and easier for some families that the SCDT plans to continue it, alongside face-to-face counselling.


What's next

We’re inspired by the work of this Scottish charity, and hope you feel inspired too. Together, we’d like to raise more money and awareness to fund essential youth mental health services like this. To find out more about SCDT and the work that they do, visit their website.

To help young minds feel better and fund more projects like this one click here to donate to Tiny Changes.

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