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New website to help those at risk of suicide and self-harm
Welcome for a compassionate country
Help is at Hand": New suicide guidance for Wales
Pobl Y Cwm at Mind Media Awards

New website to help those at risk of suicide and self-harm 

The Talk to Me Too National Conference was held on 31st January 2019 at the City Hall Cardiff. Cruse's Director for Wales, Janette Bourne, attended as a member of the WG Advisory Board on Suicide & Self Harm Prevention Strategy in Wales. The Conference launched the website which is a central place for anyone to gain information, guidance and training on the subject of suicide and self harm. The website is a work in progress, with further content to be added. 

Vaughn Gethin, Minister for Health and Social Services (by video link) announced £0.5 million to the work of the Prevention strategy at the Conference. A key stream of work in 2019 is the development of a Bereavement Pathway. 

Welcome for a Compassionate Country

3 July 2018

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething’s ambition to designate Wales as a Compassionate Country has been warmly welcomed by Byw Nawr, the end of life care coalition in Wales. Professor Hywel Francis, chair of Byw Nawr, said:

“We will enthusiastically work with Welsh Government to achieve Vaughan Gething’s ambition for a Compassionate Country.

“How appropriate that Wales - which through Aneurin Bevan gave the world the first NHS - should be the first Country to embrace the vision of a Compassionate Country.

“We are pleased that Marie Curie, Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru, Macmillan Cancer Support, Hospice UK and Cytun are supporting Byw Nawr and the Minister’s ambition to give all who are approaching the end of their lives the dignity and support they deserve.”

In his speech, Vaughan Gething said “It is my ambition for Wales to become the first ‘Compassionate Country’ – a country when we ensure the wellbeing needs of an entire community are a priority; a country that recognises a citizenship model of health promotion; a country where health and health care are about much more than what is provided by health and care services alone.

“We must recognise care as a civic responsibility we all share. Professional care services are not a substitute for our social responsibility to care for one another in times of serious illness, through ageing, in care giving and following bereavement.  We must continue do all that we can to support and protect individuals from when they are born, through their early years, schooling into adulthood, at working age, in old age and at the end of life. To prepare our citizens to be resilient for the experiences that life throws at them.”

Byw Nawr encourages people across Wales to feel comfortable discussing death and putting end of life plans in place. It is funded by the Welsh Government and supported by a wide coalition of members. For more information about Byw Nawr click here.

With over 300 Suicide Deaths a Year "Help is at Hand"

Hundreds of people die by suicide every year in Wales but help is now at hand in the form of a useful guide that has been launched.

Bereavement by suicide or other sudden unexplained death can be particularly difficult for people, who often need both practical and emotional support in dealing with their loss.

Help is at Hand Cymru (Welsh version)
Help is at Hand Cymru (English version)

 “Help is at Hand” Cymru has been produced as a useful self-help guide for people living and working in Wales. The guide includes sections on practical matters, experiencing bereavement, sources of support and how friends and colleagues can help. It will be sent to various people who come into contact with those bereaved through suicide such as funeral directors, General Practitioners, the police and coroner’s officers and it will be available free of charge on the Public Health Wales, Cruse, Papyrus, and Samaritans website.

Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Minister for Health and Social Services said:

“ I would like to thank the National Advisory Group on Suicide for updating this excellent resource.  I hope it will provide support to people who find themselves in the tragic position of losing a loved one through suicide.

“ I am also pleased that the guide provides advice for healthcare professionals. Nurses, GPs, psychiatrists, ambulance staff and all other NHS staff can be affected by such deaths and it is important they have access to support..

Dr Ann John, Clinical Associate Professor in Public Mental Health at Swansea University Chair of the National Advisory Group and Public Health Wales lead for suicide prevention said:

“ There are around 300 suicide deaths a year in Wales and for each one of these, it has been suggested, on average six people are deeply affected. These include family, friends and colleagues together with members of the public and professionals involved. People bereaved by suicide often need considerable support but may find it difficult to seek or obtain help. The booklet is a self-help resource developed for people bereaved through suicide or other unexplained death- parents, friends, colleagues-  and for those helping them. “

Nicola Abrahams of the Jacob Abrahams Foundation said:

"As a parent I was disappointed not to be given any supportive literature when my son took his own life. Having subsequently been aware of Help is at Hand I know I would have found it extremely helpfu."

If you need to talk to someone, please contact the Community Advice and Listening Line (CALL) on Freephone 0800 132 737 or text HELP and your question to 81066.

You can also contact the Samaritans on 08457 909 090 or the Cruse Bereavement Care helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Cruse and Marie Curie joint project

Family and friends of anyone who has received care and support from Marie Curie in Wales will now have access to an extended bereavement service as part of a new pilot. The free service will be provided by Cruse Bereavement Care in partnership with Marie Curie, and is available to people who’ve been supported by the Marie Curie nursing or Helper service in Wales.

Until now, Marie Curie was only able to offer bereavement support to the family and loved ones of people who had been cared for at the Marie Curie Cardiff & the Vale Hospice in Penarth. But this new six-month pilot partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care means Marie Curie can extend its support for adults, children and young people who have lost someone close who was supported by the charity.

Cruse Bereavement Care provides a tailored bereavement service based on the support that is needed. Trained bereavement volunteers will provide support via the telephone, email, face-to-face contact or through a support group, depending on the wishes of the individual. Among the first people in Wales to take advantage of the new Bereavement Support Service is Andrea Morgan, from Port Talbot.

Andrea was a full-time carer for her mother, Doreen Turner, who lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years. Marie Curie Healthcare Assistants helped care for Doreen in the final weeks before her death in January 2015. Despite support from her family and friends, Andrea, 54, struggled to cope with the death of her mother, but thanks to telephone support through the Bereavement Support Service, she is now back on her feet again.

She explained: “After we buried my mum I just fell to pieces. I was lost. Eventually I folded like a pack of cards. I stayed in the living room with the curtains drawn and the TV on. I didn’t want to interact with the outside world. I couldn’t be bothered with anyone, not even my daughter or my grandkids. I just felt like a robot. The day that I couldn’t take it any longer my friend said ‘You need help. You need to phone them’. I phoned Cruse and then the time of healing started.

“I chose to have telephone support, because at that time I kept breaking down all the time and I didn’t want to break down in front of other people. The lady on the phone was so good. She would call me at the same time every week, and she wasn’t so much there to answer my questions, it was more to listen to me. I suppose she’s like a best friend that I’ve never put a face to – she was so helpful and nice.

“Sometimes I think that if it wasn’t for Cruse I wouldn’t be here today. After losing my mum, and all the time that I had given caring for her, I felt like someone had taken all the strength out of me and all that was left was a shell.

“The support from Cruse has really helped me to get my life back. When I spoke to the lady at Cruse, she gave me the motivation to get back up on my feet. Every week that she would phone to talk I would get a little bit stronger. Now I think I’m a stronger person than I was before.”

Maxine Norrish, Project Manager at Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru, said: “Grief is a very personal process and no two people will grieve in the same way. While some people may receive support from their friends, family or healthcare professionals, others may benefit from talking to someone who is specially trained in bereavement support.

“The time at which a bereaved person needs support can also vary; some may need help right at the beginning immediately after the death of a loved one, while others may require support after 12 months when they have had the reminders of special dates and anniversaries and realise they are still not coping.

“Cruse bereavement volunteers are there to provide caring and compassionate support, and can help you talk through your thoughts and feelings while also helping you access useful services and information.”

Helen Davies, Regional Manager of the Marie Curie Nursing Service, said: “At Marie Curie we aim to provide care and support through terminal illness, and that includes supporting that person’s family and friends and ensuring that the right support is available after a loved one has died.

“I am really pleased that we have been able to work with Cruse Bereavement Care to offer this service to bereaved families who have lost someone supported by Marie Curie or our Helper service. I’m sure this pilot will continue to play a vital role in helping people fully come to terms with the death of a loved one.”


Pobol Y Cwm at Mind Media Awards

Debbie Kerslake and cast of Pobol Y Cwm at the Mind Media awards 2015

Cruse Chief Executive Debbie Kerslake met the team from Welsh-language soap opera Pobol y Cwm at the Mind Media awards in London on 16th Nov 2015. Pobol y Cwm beat soap heavy weights Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Holby City and Hollyoaks to take home the best soap award for a storyline focussing on the debilitating impact of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  

Debbie talked to the team about Cruse in Wales and story lines for the soap, and we will be keen to see if there are any ways to work with them in the future.

Film showing. Lad: A Yorkshire Story

On Saturday 15th November Cruse in North Wales will be showing the film Lad: A Yorkshire Story, looking at the expereinces of a young boy who loses his father

Flyer (English)
Flyer (Welsh)

Gwent volunteer wins top honour

Colin Hector was awarded a Volunteering Star Award on Thursday 4th June 2015. Colin started volunteering for Cruse after he retired some 11 years ago.

He is a Bereavement Support Volunteer seeing clients face to face and also provides support in the Cruse office. He works a full day at least one day per week (often providing cover on additional days at short notice), performing a number of activities, including, crucially, taking referral calls from clients. These calls can be traumatic in nature and Colin with his warm and empathetic manner has been able to support and reassure clients in the initial stages of their grief.  

He also undertakes a number of follow up activities, contacting clients on our waiting list identified as being a high priority to check how they are, as well as keeping in touch with those clients who may have been waiting for a number of months for support.

Colin has supported many hundreds of clients since volunteering for Cruse in Gwent. Hearing Colin on the telephone with a bereaved client is truly inspirational, the level of empathy and understanding which he has with clients is regularly commented on by them.

Using his many years of experience in dealing with vulnerable people, he has an incredible ability to help clients’ express how they are feeling, which helps an accurate assessment of their needs take place and to ensure that the most appropriate support is provided to them in their bereavement. He is a modest gentleman who always underplays his own contribution. His dedication to our work is outstanding.   

Whilst Colin accepted the award on behalf of every volunteer supporting Cruse in Gwent, the staff, Management Committee and all our volunteers are absolutely thrilled for Colin and this incredibly well deserved recognition of the amazing support he gives everyone. 

Cardiff and the Vale children and young people's forum launch event

Cardiff and the Vale children and young people's forum launch event

Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru is delighted to officially launch the Cardiff and Vale multi Agency Forum as part of the Cruse Children & Young Peoples programme in Wales. The launch event took place on Tuesday 12th May 2015 at the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay.

The Forum, which was established in March 2013, brings together cross sector organisations that provide bereavement services or have an interest in bereavement services that are being provided to children and young people across Cardiff and the Vale. The forum meets quarterly to share amongst other things; best practices, referral and signposting opportunities and training opportunities and has created a directory of bereavement services Cruse Bereavement Care provides bereavement support to more children and young people than any other child bereavement charity.

Laura Gregory, CYP officer for Cruse Cymru says: “The Forum shares best practice, raises awareness, enables capacity building of services, raises understanding of each other’s support services and availability and assists with effective signposting of referrals between organisations. The excellent collaboration between organisations is ensuring that more Children and Young People receive the bereavement support that they need.”

As one of its first projects, the forum has produced a directory which provides information about the services available to bereaved Children and Young People in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Find out more and download the directory.

To find out more about the forum contact

Dying to talk – Talking about death           

Janette Bourne and Emma Jones from Cruse Cymru attended the Dying to Talk Conference with a stand in Cardiff on 13th May, and Linda Cronin (Interim Chair, North Wales) and team attended the North Wales event on 29th May in LLandudno.
On 18th April 2013, Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health launched Together for Health – Delivering End of Life Care Delivery Plan.  It set out the Welsh Government's expectations of NHS Wales, and its partners, to make end of life care consistently good across the country. The Plan explained that we must be prepared to have honest and open conversations about the end of life. Preparing and planning for the end of life with the involvement of family, carers and professionals is essential to the delivery of high quality care.
The aim of both events was to explore a range of end of life issues with the aim of equipping people with information to have further conversations in their work and in their life about planning for death.
Mark Drakeford opened the Conference and Claire Henry, Chief Exec of National Council for Palliative Care launched the Dying Matters Programme in Wales.

Cruse is a member of the National Bereavement Alliance. For more information visit:

Age charity coalition appoints new Chair and Vice-Chair

A Welsh charity coalition that campaigns on older people’s issues has appointed a new Chair and Vice-Chair.Richard Williams is now the Chair of Age Alliance Wales and Ceri Jackson is its Vice-Chair.

Cruse Cymru is a member of the alliance, along with 19 other national voluntary organisations committed to working together to improve the lives of older people in Wales.

Commenting on his new role, Richard says:

“Age Alliance Wales is a powerful voice in improving the lives of older people in Wales. Given the amount of change in public services, it is more important than ever that the Alliance is able to use its influence to deliver better outcomes for the people we represent."

Says Ceri Jackson of her appointment as Vice-Chair of Age Alliance Wales:

“As individual organisations, Age Alliance Wales members do a huge amount to support those in need and champion the valuable contribution older people can and do play in our society.

“When we come together, however, we can do this even more powerfully. That is why I’m delighted to have been elected as Vice-Chair of Age Alliance Wales, and look forward to working with Richard and with member organisations to improve the lives of older people in Wales.”

Help is at hand for those bereaved by suicide

Hundreds of people die by suicide every year in Wales but help is now at hand in the form of a useful guide launched on Thursday 20 June.

Bereavement by suicide or other sudden unexplained death can be particularly difficult for people, who often need both practical and emotional support in dealing with their loss. “Help is at Hand” Cymru has been produced as a useful self-help guide for people living and working in Wales. The guide includes sections on practical matters, experiencing bereavement, sources of support and how friends and colleagues can help. It will be sent to various people who come into contact with those bereaved through suicide such as funeral directors, General Practitioners, the police and coroner’s officers and it will be available free of charge on the Public Health Wales website.

Development of Help is at Hand was led by Dr Ann John, Chair of the National Advisory Group on Suicide and Self-harm Prevention. Janette Bourne, Director of Cruse Cymru and a member of the Advisory Group attended the launch.

Launching “Help is at Hand” Cymru Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services said:

"I would like to congratulate Public Health Wales and the National Advisory Group on Suicide for developing this excellent resource. It will provide invaluable solace and support to those who need it the most – those who find themselves in the tragic position of having lost a loved one through suicide.

"I am also pleased that the guide contains a section offering help for healthcare professionals as well. They too – nurses, GPs, psychiatrists and ambulance staff – can be affected by such deaths and it is right they have access to support. It can be equally demanding for our frontline staff to support those bereaved and many need help doing so." 

For more information and links to the publication see the press release.

Colin Murray Parkes lectures on love and loss

On 1 June 2013, at the Queens Hall, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, West Wales Cruse Bereavement Care held a one day lecture with Dr Colin Murray Parkes OBE as the guest speaker. The theme for the lecture was Love and Loss.   

This was the first of what we hope will be annual event to be held in the far reaches of West Wales.  

There were 111 delegates from all over Wales including many outside organisations.  Dr Parkes was extremely informative, and shared of his experiences, gleaned over many years working with love and loss. He was an inspiring speaker who many delegates will wish to emulate in their volunteering with Cruse Bereavement Care and in their own working environments

We are sure that everyone who attended had a most enjoyable time, and took away encouragement and plenty of knowledge and ideas on working with clients. As there were delegates from all over Wales, the day also proved a great networking experience.