offers peer support for adolescents
experiencing grief and loss
What Spectrum is not
• Not professional counselling or therapy.
• Does not analyse or diagnose emotional or behavioural
• Does not give advice or attempt to solve problems.
• Does not give opinions, pass comment, make judgements,
take sides or criticise.
• Does not take notes, write reports, give feedback or
evidence, except as laid down by Child Protection
“a time of change and
a struggle to cope”
Contact details for local Rainbows Site
What Spectrum offers
• A 12 week structured programme (not counselling or
• Peer support…. a shared experience that reduces the
feeling of isolation, realising you are not the only one or
not the only family….
• Adolescents of similar age and loss meeting in groups.
• It is a free support service advertised and offered to
communities or second level schools.
• Peer support groups offers a safe confidential
environment for sharing feelings (not counselling or
• Spectrum is part of the Rainbows programme aimed at
What Spectrum peer support groups can offer
• Support to reduce feelings of stigmatisation and
embarrassment – of feeling the odd one out.
• A reduction in isolation and a normalising of strong
emotions as adolescents identify and find reassurance
with others in similar situations.
• A framework of emotional support at a time when lives
may be in turmoil. Adolescents often reject adults in their
lives at this time.
• A safe way for adolescents to express overwhelming
emotions in their own way and at their own pace.
• “Time out” where adolescents learn that they do not have
to protect other grieving family members.
• Support to restore and build self – esteem, confidence
• Can offer a model of good grief and a model of coping for
Rainbows is a national voluntary organization offering peer
support to adolescents who have experienced a significant
loss in their lives (not counselling or therapy).
The aim is to support adolescents in their local communities,
as they seek to come to terms with grief and loss.
The training, resources and structure needed to establish
peer support groups is provided by Rainbows.
Adolescents and Loss
Adolescents have a mature understanding of death, realising
that it is inevitable and universal.
The grief and loss of adolescents often gets over looked and
hidden as they take on adult roles.
Peer relationships are fundamental to an adolescent…. loss
and grief can make them feel the odd one out.
Grief can have a profound impact. Adolescents are in
transition between childhood and adulthood. They are
experiencing physical and emotional change and
development. They are striving to become independent and
make sense of an adult world.
Strong relationships of parents and family provide a secure
foundation for adolescents. Significant changes in a family
through bereavement, separation and divorce can interrupt
and regress teenagers.
Frequently, adolescents are not able to express intense
feelings and emotions. Rather, it is reflected in changed
behaviour, reduced academic performance, physical
reactions and a decrease in emotional well – being, self -
esteem and confidence. Generally, grief reactions are
Grief that is ignored can have a destructive effect on an