Support Provided to Young People Bereaved by Suicide by SAS based in Melbourne, Australia
Post 3 of 4
Survivors after Suicide (SAS) in Melbourne, Australia provide activity based programmes for children and young people bereaved by suicide and they are referred to as ‘Serious Fun’ and they include
Adventure camps are held twice a year and are provided for eight children aged between 11-16 years who have been bereaved by suicide. Bereavement counsellors attend these camps. The emphasis is on having a good time and providing outdoor activities such as canoeing, camping and sitting around a campfire. Louise Flynn of SAS stressed the important aspect of these camps is that they are with other children who have also been bereaved by suicide and thus, have had similar experiences. Whilst the emphasis is on fun, often the children start to talk openly about their loss around the camp fire.
SAS also provide three hour sessions for young children bereaved by suicide, who are aged between 4 -12 years. Again, the emphasis is on having fun but are organised and managed by counsellors who work with children bereaved by suicide. Whilst the children play for three hours, the parents are invited to meet in another room and talk about their loss and caring for their bereaved children. The parents are also supported by bereavement counsellors from SAS during these discussions.
Suicide Bereavement Services for Children in the UK
This leads me to inform you what is available for children bereaved by suicide in the UK. With regards the National Health Service, I am not aware of any services that are available. In fact, findings from the research that I am currently conducting have revealed that GPs are extremely frustrated that they have difficulties referring these children to any NHS services! However, we are fortunate that we have Winston’s Wish charity that provides support for children bereaved by suicide. In fact, their work is internationally renowned. They provide support for children and their families in many forms, training to front line staff, online activities for young people and excellent resources and books, many of which are available online. I cannot sing their praises enough. The NHS could learn a lot from this charity. Take a look at what they do http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/supporting-you/support-services/