Cruse Bereavement Care and Samaritans are launching a series of free support groups, named Facing the Future, for people bereaved by suicide.
Each group, with a maximum of eight participants, will provide vital and tailored support to those who have lost someone to suicide, as well as providing an opportunity to meet others who have had similar experiences.
Facing the Future groups are free of charge and available to anyone over 18 who has been bereaved by suicide. Each group session will last for 90 minutes and will run once a week over six consecutive weeks. The bereavement does not have to have been recent, although the service is designed for people bereaved for more than 3 months*.
The groups will be jointly led by experienced Samaritans and Cruse volunteers who have received specialist training in helping those bereaved by suicide.
Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans said, “Those bereaved by suicide are at an increased risk of taking their own lives. We believe this highly specialist support will reduce that danger. We hope that offering confidential support thorough these groups will help people find a way forward.”
Debbie Kerslake, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care said, “The type of grief experienced by those bereaved by suicide is intense and the emotions experienced in the aftermath can differ from those following other types of death. These support groups are a unique opportunity for those affected to share their feelings in a safe space.”
The idea was developed in 2011 by Kensington and Chelsea Cruse and Central London Samaritans. After the success of their groups, the two charities decided to expand the service further.
In June 2014, Facing the Future was given three years of funding by the Department of Health to take place in pilot areas around the UK which will include York, Exeter, Coventry and Essex.
Alistair Burt, Minister for Community and Social Care, who attended the launch event at Samaritans New Cross branch said, “Having had the chance to meet those directly affected by the suicide of a loved one, the evidence could not be clearer as to why these support groups are so valuable. I am so proud to be supporting Facing the Future, and would encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out for support. It really can make all the difference.”
To find out more or to register your interest in attending a support group, visit www.facingthefuturegroups.org
* Participants must have been bereaved by suicide for more than three months when the group starts. Earlier than that people may still be experiencing a high level of shock and could find it difficult to share their feelings.