Balloons: How we can help

Balloons aims to ensure that no child, young person or young adult in Exeter, Mid and East Devon goes without the bereavement support they need. We believe that everyone deserves a space to work through their feelings and concerns when they have been bereaved.

We offer free one-to-one grief support, usually over a 6-week period, for 5 to 25-year olds.  These sessions consist of around an hour’s support each week, and the content of the sessions are bespoke, tailored to meet the needs, concerns and preferences of the child, young person or young adult.  Grief support sessions could be focused on common themes such as; memories, thoughts and feelings, anxiety and anger.  They could take the form of simply talking through these themes but often also include a degree of creative work.

In addition to our one-to-one grief support we also provide advice and support to families, young adults and professionals in relation to bereavement.  This is a broad and comprehensive service run by our small staff team which includes advice to:

  • Parents/carers following a bereavement or terminal diagnosis
  • 16-25 year olds around their own bereavement
  • Professional practitioners from schools, colleges or the University of Exeter who are concerned about a pupil/student following a bereavement or terminal diagnosis
  • Schools following the death of a teacher or pupil

How can I make a referral?

Balloons take referrals for one-to-one grief support for 5-25 year olds in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.  This support mainly takes place at school, college or university but can also take place at home.

Referrals usually come from schools but can also come from a parent or carer. We also accept self-referrals for those aged 18-25.  Referrals from other sources may be considered, and we are always happy to discuss a possible referral with anyone who calls us.  Please note that ALL referrals must be discussed with a member of the Balloons staff team prior to submitting a referral, and for this reason you will not find a referral form to download on our website.  However, we do have a clear Referral Criteria which you should read before contacting us to determine whether a referral is appropriate. Click here to see the Referral Criteria

Referrals for post-bereavement support will only be accepted a minimum of 10 weeks after a bereavement.  Pre-bereavement referrals are taken on a case by case basis.  To maximise the benefits of Grief Support we ask that referrals are only made for children, young people and young adults who are not expected to be receiving other therapeutic support at the same time as receiving support from Balloons.  This includes other forms of counselling and support from Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services.

As a guide we aim to have referrals placed with a Grief Support worker within 12 weeks of that referral being received, although this cannot be guaranteed.

If you would like to make a referral to Balloons around a bereavement or expected bereavement, please contact our staff team on 01392 826064.

More information

Bereavement through the COVID-19 Outbreak

The Funeral

Helping a child cope with the death of a parent

Helping a child to cope when a Grandparent dies

Supporting children when a loved one has died through suicide

Supporting siblings when their brother or sister dies

Coping with Mother's Day

Supporting children and young people after a disaster

Helping bereaved children and young people maintain healthy sleep patterns

Helping children to cope at Christmas after a bereavement

Seeing the person who has died

Children's understanding of Death

Activities for families to do after the death of a loved one

Supporting schools to effectively manage bereavement

Supporting suddenly bereaved children and young people

Coping with Father's Day

Someone important to me is going to die

Helping bereaved children and young people cope

Supporting grieving pre-school children