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  • 2a Papanikoli, Sidera Halandri, Athens | 13 Fragon, Thessaloniki
  • Athens:+30210-6463367 | Thessaloniki:+302310-510010

CHILDHOOD BEREAVEMENT COUNSELING CENTERS

What We Do

Death and life threatening illness are events that deeply affect the lives of children and adolescents. Even though we cannot shield them from the pain caused by the sickness or death of a loved one we can, however, help them learn how to cope with these experiences more effectively and to slowly incorporate the experience into their own life story.

All children need to be able to talk about what happens to them, to express their thoughts and feelings and to find the appropriate support in an environment that understands and meets their individual needs. With such support, they are able to cope with reality more effectively, their natural development is promoted and psychological problems that could possibly arise in their adult life are averted

Merimna’s board, in acknowledgement of those needs founded, in 1998, a Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center in Athens and in 2013 opened a second Counseling Center in Thessaloniki in order to better meet the needs of Northern and Western Greece.

The main goal of Merimna’s Childhood Bereavement Counseling Centers is to provide psychological support to children, adolescents and their families when a loved one has a life threatening illness or has died. Support is offered completely free of charge, either through individual sessions or through support groups for parents and support groups for children.

Free Services

A drawing of how I felt the day my father died.
A few months later...

The support groups are for children of different ages, who have lost a parent or a brother or sister and have been proven to be very beneficial. The groups meet once a week over a two month period. Every session lasts for 1.5 hours and is facilitated by a Merimna psychologist.

α) groups for parents who are grieving the loss of a spouse/partner

β) groups for parents who are grieving the loss of a child

The groups meet once a week and each session lasts 1.5 hours and is facilitated by a Merimna psychologist.

Teachers wishing to receive counseling support when a student experiences a loss in their family environment or when the school community faces the loss of a student or teacher may contact the Counseling Centers of Athens or Thessaloniki.

In situations where the whole school population is affected by the serious illness or death of a member of the school community (ie: student, teacher, administrator or support personnel) the intervention will address the whole school community so as to assist the educators to support the students effectively as well as to raise the awareness of the parents. Bereavement counseling with teachers of a class or a school is provided by appointment at Merimna’s offices or through the Telephone Support Line if the school is not in Attica or Thessaloniki.

Merimna provides professional Childhood Bereavement Counseling services via telephone to parents, educators, mental health professionals and organizations that do not have access to the Bereavement Counseling Centers either in Athens or in Thessaloniki. Counseling by phone is not limited to the management of an individual crisis but may also include regular contact with the family and/or the school when a traumatic event has affected the lives of the children and families of a community.

Telephone Support Line – Athens: +30210 6463622 The support line operates Monday through Friday 10:00-17:00 for the areas on the map of Greece (below) that are marked with the color rose.

Telephone Support Line – Thessaloniki: 2310 510010 The Support line operates Monday through Friday 10:00-18:00 for the areas on the map of Greece (below) that are marked with the color blue.

 

Which families can request support from Merimna?

Merimna supports all families who have children under the age of 18 and who have a family member who is seriously ill or who has died.

What is the charge for the services provided?

The childhood bereavement counseling services are provided free of charge to children and families

How can those who live far away from Athens or Thessaloniki receive bereavement support?

When someone doesn’t have access to either of the two Childhood Bereavement Counseling Centers in Athens or Thessaloniki, support services can be provided through our Telephone Support line.

Can a couple who have lost a baby, and do not have any other children receive assistance?

Yes, they can receive support if they request it. Also, in some cases, Merimna can support parents even when they do not provide services to the child.

Is it necessary to bring my child/ren to the first meeting?

The first two sessions are held with the child/ren’s parent/guardian and then, together with the psychologist, it is decided whether or not to propose to the child/ren that they come to see the psychologist. It is a prerequisite that the child/ren be informed and consenting before their first session.

Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center Staff – Athens:

Eleftheria Ralli, psychologist, Director of Services
Margarita Micheli, psychologist
Evi Bitsakou, MSc, psychologist
Kelly Moraiti, MSc, psychologist
Olga Kotrozou, psychologist
Phaedon Hatzis, psychologist
Evie Makri, secretary

Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center Staff – Thessaloniki:

Dina Tselepi, psychologist, Director of Services
Elli Manatou, psychologist
Anna Kasopoglou, πολιτικός επιστήμων
Joanna Hatzioannou, secretary

Staff Psychologist Supervision provided by:

Peggy Athinioti
Tassos Zissis
Eleni Nina

External Associates – Psychologists:

Hara Kotsikou
Olga Metallinou
Dimitra Petanidou

“…When the ship of my life started sailing, it was armed with dreams and love. The journey didn’t have a specific destination. The most important thing was for my ship to endure rough seas in order to travel safely. It always managed to elude misfortune, when suddenly it was turned upside down by a massive wave. I had to jump off it and swim as fast as I could, before it sank. I was tired and exhausted from swimming, when all of a sudden I heard voices; the voices of three people giving me courage and strength to keep going and get out… The closer I got to the shore, the more people started gathering around… “Just keep swimming and you’ll make it. You can do it, we will help you,” Their arms reached out to me, pulled me out and embraced me to keep me warm. I am lucky to have managed to come out of that storm alive…”

Mother of two boys who, after the death of her husband, took part in a bereavement support group for parents.