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The Brunton family on beach in West Mersea.

Family support

St Helena supports the families, friends and carers of local people who face incurable illness. Our goal is to be here every step of the way, helping life to go on in the face of dying, death and bereavement. This support is for all adults and children who have a link with someone who is receiving care from St Helena.

The help we offer includes counselling, family support and social work. We can give advice, support and assistance in discussing illness and treatments, and in helping prepare family members for the death of a loved one. 

This support may be one to one support, couple’s support, children and family sessions, and peer groups. We are only able to offer this support thanks to the generosity of our donors and fundraisers; you can make a donation online.

We aim to:

  • provide practical advice and information
  • provide a safe environment to explore thoughts and feelings
  • help families adjust to changes they are experiencing
  • learn new coping strategies
  • help those facing incurable illness and bereavement realise they are not alone
  • promote choice, build confidence and self-esteem

We can act as an advocate and liaise with employers and schools if needed. We can support young people either individually or in a family group. Children under five will be supported via their parent/guardian or within their family unit and not individually. 

We offer spiritual care, as well as physical and emotional care. The chaplaincy team is here to listen, journey with, enable and equip people to fulfil their spiritual needs and find inner peace. People like to talk about hope, peace, sense of meaning and purpose, faith, belief, relationships and forgiveness.


Useful resources

Keeping in touch when you can't be with someone who is so ill that they might die leaflet

Open leaflet

Additional support is available to you and your loved ones from other health and social care providers.

Find out more at the To Live With Dying website


Our family support team has put together some 'how to' videos for creative activities to do as a family; which also serve as a good distraction, allowing your children to open up and share their feelings, worries, and questions.


This video provides families with tools to help children cope with their worries and questions through the use of a worry box, worry monster, and worry people. 

Dream Catcher

If your child/ren are having trouble sleeping; having dreams or nightmares; or you're having trouble getting them to go to bed; this video could help you. In this video we give you instructions on how to make a dream catcher - as a fun activity for you and the children - as well as guidance on how to encourage your child to open up with you.

Go to basket

Go to basket