Katherine Jenkins thankful for counselling after dad's death

Image source, Grief Encounter
Image caption,
Katherine Jenkins recorded Jealous Of The Angels with the Grief Encounter Children's Choir

Singer Katherine Jenkins believes she would not "be this person today" if it wasn't for a counsellor who helped her deal with her father's death.

As a teenager, Jenkins struggled to come to terms with the loss of her father Selwyn, who died from lung cancer.

Now the mezzo-soprano, 38, wants to raise awareness for bereaved children.

She has recorded a new song with bereaved pupils to launch Children's Grief Awareness Week.

Neath-born Jenkins, now a patron of charity Grief Encounter, said: "When I was 15 and getting over the death of my father, I saw an amazing grief counsellor who helped me process what had happened and helped me understand my feelings.

"I really don't think I would be this person today without that help."

Image source, Grief Encounter
Image caption,
Katherine Jenkins said the children "stole my heart"

Her new song, Jealous Of The Angels, was recorded with a choir set up to provide alternative creative therapy to traditional counselling for children aged between five and 11.

She said: "Singing with the [choir] was an afternoon of my life that I'll never forget.

"Grief Encounter is incredibly important. It works with children who've lost a parent or a sibling and helps them come out of it the other side."

Image source, Grief Encounter
Image caption,
One in 29 children in the UK suffer a bereavement by the age of 16, the charity said

Every 22 minutes, a child in the UK experiences the death of a parent or sibling, according to the charity.

It said 60% of bereaved children do not talk about their anxieties with someone at home, and 27% do not open up to friends or peers.

As a result, they are more likely to develop mental health problems, be excluded from school, become involved in criminal activity and experience financial difficulties.

The charity's founding patron Kevin Wells, said: "Bereavement is still very much a taboo subject.

"We hope to make people aware of the seriousness of bereavement and the services that are, and should be, available to all families nationwide."

Children Grief Awareness Week is from 15 to 21 November.

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