Give us a break! is an 8 week programme, written by South Lanarkshire Council Psychological Services and NHS Lanarkshire, for young people aged 10-14 years who are coping with negative change in their lives. The programme acknowledges that loss and grief are a normal part of life and are experienced uniquely by each individual. It supports young people in managing the emotional consequences of loss. The real value of this programme lies in its flexibility, and the solution-focused theoretical framework which underpins all of Give us a break! Many colleagues from a wide range of professional backgrounds contributed generously to the development of the resource and the published materials were significantly enriched by an extensive consultation exercise within the local authority, which included the views of young people and parents who participated in the pilot Give us a break! groups. The programme pack contains an introduction and general information, notes and lessons plans for each week, resource sheets for all activities, and notes on working with parents.
The collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support has been invaluable. It is unlikely that without the generous financial support and wonderful encouragement from our Macmillan colleagues, Give us a break! would not be in its present form, nor would there be the vision for a national rollout. The knowledge base of key practitioners would not have been extended and young people would not have benefitted from being involved in the Give us a break! groups.
If you have ongoing concerns for your child following a bereavement, loss or significant change in their lives, Give us a break! could help them cope better with the changes. If you think your child could benefit from a Give us a break! group programme or you would like any further information, please complete the ‘Contact us’ section found at the top right hand corner of the website.
The natural grieving process takes time and it is different for each person therefore enough time should be given for their grieving process to take place. We generally recommend at least six months from the change happening. Not every young person who experiences a bereavement, loss or negative change will require support like Give us a break! However, if you have ongoing concerns for your child following any of these changes (e.g. behaviour, emotional, psychological etc.) then Give us a break! could help them. More information can be found ‘in’ the psychological service bereavement and loss leaflet in the leaflet section of this website.
Give us a break! can help your child acknowledge how previous events are affecting them now and help them learn ways to cope with the changes in their lives. Give us a break! helps them to recognise their own and others’ strengths, and has a focus on setting goals to make things better.
Your child may want to speak to you about what happens within the group and what they are thinking and feeling in relation to the big changes they have experienced. It would also be beneficial for you to encourage your child to do the take home activities and complete the parent/carer evaluation questionnaire at the start and end of the programme. For more information on how you can help your child, please read the Give us a break! Information for parents and carers leaflet.
Give us a break! could help following a variety of negative changes. Events like divorce, separation, death of a loved one or other major trauma can be deeply distressing to a young person. These events often also bring associated changes in other areas of life, such as a change of home, school or living arrangements.
Services and agencies will operate within their own Child Protection guidelines and procedures. It is important that the young people are made aware of issues around confidentiality and what happens if a disclosure is made. If you require further information please speak to a member of the training team about this.