A referral to Stars can be made by a parent, carer, teacher, GP or another agency. If the young person is over 16 they can refer themselves for counselling. A referral is usually made between 6 months to 2 years after a bereavement has occurred, normally when the adult has noticed changes in a child’s behaviour – it might be angry outbursts, inability to sleep, performing poorly at school or college. Once a referral has been made and accepted, an assessment will take place with the young person; the adult who has referred them and one of our experienced counsellors. After that, the child will be allocated a personal counsellor for their one-to-one sessions. There may be a gap of several months between assessment and the first session with a counsellor if our counsellors are already working with other children.
If the referral is being made while the loved one is still alive our counsellors will always try and see the child or children involved as soon as possible. Even if it is very close to the death, our experience is that it is still beneficial to see the child in advance, rather than wait until after the bereavement.
Are you sure that the bereavement is the main issue for the child or young person at the moment? – Bereavement may be a factor in many situations but it may not be the most important, We can only work with bereavement so if you think another issue is more important please resolve that issue first – we will still be here later. Please phone us if you need to discuss whether now is the right time.
Please fill in the referral form as accurately as possible – We need to know as much information as you are able to give us. MOST IMPORTANTLY we need to know who else is working with a family. We aim to work collaboratively with other services but can only do this if we know who else is involved. Download a referral form or you can request it by phoning the service.
After the referral is made the service will contact you.
If an assessment is deemed necessary, this will be carried out by professionally qualified staff. Children and young people are then offered individual sessions and/ or group days, or referred on to other services as appropriate. Sessions are provided by both paid staff and trained volunteers at several centres across the country.
When a referral is received for pre-bereavement support a consultation, either face to face or over the telephone, with the child’s carer is the first step rather than a direct meeting with the child.