Date Published: 12 September 2006

UK Government Booklet to help those bereaved by suicide

UK Health Minister:
Rosie Winterton

Help is at hand launched by Health Minister Rosie Winterton:
Booklet designed to support people bereaved by suicide

A resource designed to support people who have lost loved ones through suicide was officially launched today by Health Minister Rosie Winterton.

The guide, Help is at Hand, brings together for the first time information on practical and emotional issues, as well as sources of support for people bereaved by suicide or other sudden, traumatic death of a friend, relative or acquaintance.

The booklet, produced by the Department of Health, was developed by the Centre for Suicide Research, Oxford, with input from a range of stakeholders, including people bereaved by suicide themselves and organisations such as Cruse Bereavement Care, the Coroners' Officers Society and the Funeral Directors Association.

The booklet contains practical information and emotional support and advice. Help is at Hand is designed both for people bereaved by suicide or other sudden, traumatic death and for those professionals (eg in prisons, hospitals, the police, funeral directors etc) who come into contact with people bereaved in this way.

Launching the guide at Derby City General Hospital's Faith Centre, which includes a bereavement project, Health Minister Rosie Winterton said:

" All bereavements are difficult but bereavement by suicide or other sudden death is particularly traumatic. People in this situation need practical and emotional help, and Help is at Hand brings both of these elements together in a single source.

_ Suicide rates are currently at their lowest recorded level but the Government is committed to doing more and this booklet is part of that overall strategy."

Chief Executive of Cruse Bereavement Care, Anne Viney, said:

" We warmly welcome the production by the Department of Health of this resource to help those bereaved by suicide or other sudden traumatic death, and the recognition of the impact of suicide and sudden traumatic death on both bereaved people and those who support them. This guide highlights the practical and emotional issues and difficulties experienced by those bereaved in this way and clearly acknowledges the need for bereavement care."

Eve Sweeney, who lost two children to suicide, said:

" This is a long-awaited and much needed publication. Remembering my own experience, I had no idea what happened after someone takes their own life. I also didn't know where to find out or even where to go for help. This all added greatly to my distress. This is an essential document which can be given out by Coroner's Officers to all who are bereaved by sudden traumatic deaths."

Source: UK Department of Health

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