our workshop with young people - grief and estrangement guide

This section of our resource will explain the advice and feedback we received when conducting a workshop from grieving and estranged young people.

For this guide, we spoke to LGBTQ+ young people who have experienced grief, either through bereavement or estrangement.

We and asked them three questions:

  1. what helped you with your grief?
  2. what advice would you give to other lgbtq+ young people experiencing grief?
  3. what could have helped you manage better while you were grieving?

Young people expressed that reaching out for support was the main thing they wanted others that are struggling to manage grief on their own to do. Whether it is through your support network, your community or through specialised spaces to share grief like counselling or support groups, keeping feelings to yourself and hiding from your pain can ultimately make you feel worse.

Our young people also wanted to share ways to express grief by yourself, and mentioned that writing letters to deceased family members, or family members you no longer speak to, can feel cathartic. Drawing and creating art was also mentioned as a really good way express feelings you might not be able to articulate.

The young people we spoke to also wanted others to know that grieving isn’t a quick and easy process, and that you should try to be patient and compassionate with yourself. They said that grief shows up in many ways and can flare up around important milestones such as holidays, birthdays and special events.

Young people wanted their loved ones to show extra support around these times but also to be asked what kind of support they would like.

They also wanted professionals to have more of an awareness of the effects of grief through bereavement and estrangement and hold space for grief experienced young people. Especially in the LGBTQ+ community, they ask that professionals don’t advocate for reconciliation when a young person is estranged as this can compound grief and trauma.

Young people also asked for practical support, so we have collated information on how to manage grief and estrangement at university and in work, how to plan a funeral, what type of benefits and financial support is available, and how to access therapy and community support.