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Study explores grief support after suicide

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People who have lost someone they loved to suicide have been invited to share about their bereavement, to help inform organisations providing grief support.

The Support After Suicide Partnership, a network of bereavement charities and response services including the Society for Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, aims to gain an insight into the experiences of people who are bereaved or have been affected by suicide.

Working with researchers at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Mental Health and Safety, the Partnership says the feedback, which people can contribute anonymously, will help improve care and support for those bereaved or affected by suicide in the years to come.

The online survey, which can be found at supportaftersuicide.org.uk/research. aims to better understand the impact of bereavement by suicide on people’s lives, as well as identify the support they get – or feel they need.

Coping with bereavement by suicide is sometime described as ‘grief with the volume turned up.’ This kind of bereavement says Support After Suicide, can intensify feelings including guilt, anger or despair that may be a part of the grieving process.

Families or friends grieving a loved one’s death by suicide may also face new and unfamiliar situations, as the person’s death is investigated by authorities – and also feel that their loved one’s death makes it complicated to explain, anticipate or cope with how other people may respond.

The Support After Suicide Partnership is behind helpful support guides for people bereaved by suicide. Written with quotes and insight from people who have lost someone who has taken their own life, the guides explore emotional responses and coping strategies – as well as what to expect and how to manage through practical situations, including the coroner’s inquest and coping with the media.

Another of its guides, Finding the Words, offers help to those wanting to reach out to someone who is bereaved by suicide, supporting them to acknowledge someone’s loss, to listen and talk about the person who has died.

Among Support After Suicide’s members are organisations that provide bereavement and mental health support to people who are grieving someone who has taken their own life. Links to them can be found on its website.

In its survey, Support After Suicide is seeking the views of those who have been bereaved, as well as people who have witnessed suicide, frontline responders in emergency situations and those who care for people coping with loss.

The University of Manchester provides further details about taking part in the survey and explaining how it will use the information here.

  • Visit supportaftersuicide.org.uk for help, information and links to support organisations helping people bereaved by or affected by someone’s suicide.
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