Peer Supporters - what do they do?
No one can be prepared for the level of grief that follows the death of a baby or child. But for those families going through this terrible situation, being able to talk to someone who has been through it can really help.
Our volunteer Parent Supporters and Peer Supporters play a vital role in the delivery of our Grief and Loss support services. They offer a very special and personal service that can only be delivered by those parents who have directly experienced or been impacted themselves by the loss of a baby or child.
All of our Peer Supporters are volunteers who have experienced the death of their baby, child or grandchild, and use their lived experience and understanding of what it’s like to go through it to help others through their journey of grief.
The program complements our professional counselling services, and gives bereaved families the opportunity to speak to someone who truly understands what they are going through. Peer Supporters can provide an understanding and non-judgemental person to talk to, and a space to talk freely with other parents who have lived through the experience. This can help to reassure bereaved parents that they are not alone and their reactions are normal.
What do Peer Supporters do?
Red Nose Peer Supporters assist bereaved families in a number of ways, including:
- Provide direct support for distressed families via our 24/7 Support Line and Live Chat
- Educate health professionals about the best ways to support grieving families in hospital
- Run support groups and Remembrance Services for bereaved families.
What do our Peer Supporters say?
“Wanting to become a parent supporter is not a difficult decision to make, nor is it really our choice. We did not choose to become bereaved parents, to lose our child and to enter into a different world than that we had known. Walking down this new path was a natural progression of our grief… As a bereaved parent you know and can empathise (with) how another parent may feel after their child dies. It was my wish that no-one should ever be alone with the incredible pain of the death of their child. If I could be near and take away some of the pain I would. If I can listen to their crying, their memories, their guilt, their anger… I will. If I may somehow give them a little piece of hope that they may also survive and live once more… then I will. Do we become parent supporters to immortalize the memory of our child? I don’t think so. We do it in (their) memory, but more because we have chosen to want to just be there for others and to support them as we have been supported. You don’t want to live your grief through another … you just want to be able to stand by them if they want you to.” (Jill)
“After the death of my baby, it was a comfort to speak to someone who truly understood the depths of my grief – because they had been there before and come out the other side.” (Sarah)
I am because of my experience … I feel because I am grieving too … I can support in a different way … not better, not worse, just in a different way. Counsellors may leave their jobs and travel to different types of jobs … I will always be a bereaved parent and will always remember. (Jill)
How do you become a Peer Supporter?
Red Nose Grief and Loss is always looking for more Peer Supporters. All volunteer parent supporters must have experienced the death of a baby or child to be selected as a Peer Supporter. Ongoing support and training is also provided to ensure bereaved families receive the very best support.
To learn more, contact our Grief and Loss Support team on 1300 308 307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last reviewed: 2/8/20