Grief seminar ready to speak from the heart

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Grief counsellor Laurissa Knowles.
Camera IconGrief counsellor Laurissa Knowles.

A spate of recent suicides across the region will inform a seminar for parents and carers at St Thomas More Primary School early next month.

The session with grief counsellor Laurissa Knowles has been funded by William Barrett and Sons funeral home amid concerns death and other taboo topics are going unaddressed with younger people.

“Unfortunately, in our Western culture, discussing death makes some of us uncomfortable,” funeral director Adrian Barrett said.

“We can try to sweep our grief under the carpet and seek to shield children from the pain. However, there is a great deal of research to show this isn’t healthy and we do need to have more open conversations about grief with our children.”

In recent times, the company has produced activity books for children to help them manage their grief.

Ms Knowles, pictured, who is based in Margaret River, said the session would provide carers, parents, educators and other professionals with skills in “death literacy”. “The Margaret River community is tight-knit, and when there is a death, particularly when it is sudden, shock waves spread far and wide,” she said.

“Our children are not immune to this, and it’s so important that we open up conversations with our children, speak plainly about death, and keep the conversations flowing.

“We need them to know that what they are feeling is normal, that grief is painful, and make sure they have opportunities to ask questions.”

The seminar was designed for the wider community “because everyone has a role to play in supporting those who are grieving”, Ms Knowles said.

“I have worked with so many people who have been affected by suicide within our community, including my own husband’s death over five years ago. I speak from the heart when we choose to organise an event like this.”

To register interest in the session on Thursday, June 10, access trybooking via www. barrettfunerals.com.au.

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