Details of my Winston Travel Fellowship Award to Australia and New Zealand
I can hear myself moaning now, ‘I never win anything!’ Well I might have never won the lottery or even a raffle prize, but it seems my luck is changing.
I have recently been awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to visit Australia and New Zealand to learn how both countries care for those bereaved by suicide. I am going for six weeks. Four weeks will be work related and the additional two are annual leave and will be pure fun. I cannot begin to tell you how excited and honoured I am to have received this award. It almost feels like I have won the lottery.
So, before I go any further, let me tell you about the purpose of a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship.
Winston Churchill Travel Fellowships are awarded to British citizens from all walks of life to travel overseas, to bring back knowledge and best practice for the benefit of others in their UK professions and communities, (http://www.wcmt.org.uk/). But also, the purpose of the fellowship is to further enhance the individual’s personal development. I feel so lucky and equally feel very proud. However, with this award also comes a level of responsibility and expectation that I will disseminate my findings and experiences widely. This is a partial reason why I initially decided to write my blog.
So for today, I am going to tell you a little bit about my objectives whilst in Australia and New Zealand.
Background to the Proposed Project
The annual suicide rate in the UK has recently increased to over 6,000. It is important to note that those bereaved always outnumber the deceased. Thus, as the numbers of those that die by suicide increase, so does the number of those bereaved by suicide. Our understanding of how to care for those bereaved by suicide and our knowledge about how, when and with whom to intervene after a suicide occurs, is extremely limited in the UK. However, we do know those bereaved by suicide are significantly at risk of dying by suicide; health professionals do not receive training on how to respond to this vulnerable population and are often anxious and uncertain how to respond to those bereaved by suicide. Australia and America are recognised as the world leaders in this newly developing field, in terms of research and the development of postvention services. Hence, the reason for my travel fellowship.
Aims of my fellowship
- To visit Australia and New Zealand to learn how both countries care for those bereaved by suicide;
- To identify good practice in the field of suicide bereavement;
- To share what I have learnt during the travel fellowship with those bereaved by suicide, researchers, clinicians and policy makers in the UK; and
- To visit key researchers in postvention and identify future collaborations.
Well that’s all for now. I’ve got my ironing and packing to do! Hope you will visit my blog again to see where I am going and how I am getting on.