The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4

Dear Diary

10th May, 2020

“I get knocked down. But I get up again.
You’re never going to keep me down.”

The above lyrics are my mantra for this difficult and uncertain time. Granted the rest of the words in the song might not be appropriate!  However, its positive beat and the above lyrics will serve me and perhaps others well at the moment.

Recent posts on my blog have focused on my personal thoughts and experiences of lockdown, during Covid-19, with no reference to the potential implications for my organisation Suicide Bereavement UK , which I am co-founder and Managing Director

For those that are not aware, I lost my brother to suicide many years ago. As a direct result of my loss, I educated myself (i.e. degree and PhD) to enable me to specialise in suicide bereavement research to advance understanding in this field, and to help improve the care those bereaved by suicide receive.

I spent 16 happy years at the Centre for Mental Health and Safety , at the University of Manchester, which is an internationally recognised centre for suicide research.  In fact, this is where I secured a NHS Fellowship to conduct my PhD, which identified the experiences and perceived needs of parents bereaved by suicide .  One of my proudest moments at the University of Manchester, was when I secured National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Research for Patient Benefit funding (£243k) to lead a research project, to conduct and develop PABBS  (Postvention Assisting those Bereaved By Suicide) evidence-based suicide bereavement training, which is first of its kind internationally.

In 2015, Suicide Bereavement UK was born and PABBS evidence-based suicide bereavement training was rolled out nationally, with the support of the University of Manchester, The National Institute for Health Research  and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Fast forward to 2020; what businesses would have predicted Covid-19, and its implications, in their business plans and managing risk?  A nightmare, for so many reasons, for businesses nationally and internationally.

So much uncertainty as we  go into our 8th week of lockdown.  So difficult to predict when our country will reach some form of normality, to enable businesses to plan and function more effectively.

However, one thing I am sure of, Suicide Bereavement UK is resilient and will weather this storm.  We will be here, stronger and even more determined after lockdown, to help guide and inform professionals how to care for those bereaved or affected by suicide.  

Moral of this post:  Don’t give up. Reflect, adapt and plan to come back even stronger.