The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4

31st August 2020

Dear Diary

These are unprecedented and unpredictable times. COVID-19 and its implications (e.g. lockdown and government restrictions) have been disabling in so many ways, for individuals, communities and businesses.  We are collectively learning to live with fear, uncertainty and loss.  My heart goes out to anyone who has been bereaved during COVID-19, especially as many have been denied access to bereavement rituals, that help them mourn, during this time of high risk.

I am also mindful that people bereaved by suicide and those that care for us are struggling to cope emotionally, financially and in practical terms. I have been extremely frustrated that my organisation (Suicide Bereavement UK[) has not been able to provide its services, due to government restrictions.  However, we have not been idle during the past 5 months.  We have been reviewing, adapting and preparing for when it is ‘our time to step up’. 

Our time is here and we are ready!

The following is a summary of what we have been up to and what to expect in the next few months:

  • 8th September – we launch our new Suicide Bereavement UK website (we have spent the whole of lockdown revising it – trust me, its impressive);
  • 15th September – we recommence delivering face to face PABBS[  evidence-based and evaluated suicide bereavement workshops, which are first of their kind internationally;
  • 18th November – we are hosting our 9th international suicide bereavement conference;
  • 19th November – Andrea Walraven-Thissen will be delivering a seminar [ on the long term psychological and physical impact of COVID-19 on patients and professionals that care for them;
  • 26th November – Andrea Walraven-Thissen and I will be piloting evidence-based Emergency Services Postvention Response Training (ESPR), which has been informed by research and first of its kind internationally; and
  • We intend to launch the national suicide bereavement report (7,100 people participated), which is the largest suicide bereavement survey internationally.  This will generate both national and international interest.  A date has not yet been confirmed, but it will be launched in 2020.

If you want to learn more about the above, visit Suicide Bereavement UK’s website, or follow me on my blog for up-to-date information.

Dr Sharon McDonnell is the Managing Director of Suicide Bereavement UK

© Suicide Bereavement UK 2020