AOIC Conference told of new survey by expert
We were thrilled to be informed that The Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC) referred to Dr Sharon McDonnell's (Director of Suicide Bereavement UK) presentation. They paid special attentionand and provided the link to the National Suicide Bereavement Survey in their newsletter. Please refer to the article below
'A UNIQUE survey into the devastating impact of suicide on surviving relatives, friends and professionals has seen more than 1,000 people take part in just over a month.The Association of Independent Celebrants, (AOIC), is the latest organisation to put its support behind the very first Suicide Bereavement Survey. It will share the link across its website and social media platforms, while encouraging peers within the funeral profession to support it. Launched on September 27 this year, more than 1,300 people have already answered the 72-question online form – which is anonymous, but does identify regional location and the profession of those answering. Survey founder Dr Sharon McDonnell, pictured above with Mr Foster and Mr Spicksley, of Suicide Bereavement UK, was a guest speaker at the 10th anniversary conference. She told delegates how the questionnaire was already highlighting the relatively unknown trauma being experienced by individuals, many of the professionals, who were having to cope with ‘suicide bereavement’ alone. Individuals who had lost relatives and friends were participating, along with many on the ‘front line’, including police officers, health care staff and ambulance men and women. And, with early results already being looked at, one thing was clear, said Dr McDonnell: “Suicide bereavement is a major public health issue that has barely been addressed in this country.”
Dr McDonnell has been a leader in her professional field for almost two decades and became involved following the death of her brother, who died by suicide 26 years ago. He was just 29. She launched Suicide Bereavement UK 18 months ago, after working for the University of Manchester for 17 years. The survey has been launched in collaboration with the University of Manchester and Support After Suicide Partnership. During her presentation, she revealed how the UK had seen 5,688 registered deaths due to suicide in 2016 – and it was estimated that thousands more would have been profoundly affected as a result – from relatives and friends, to professionals dealing with the situation. “We need to give those who have been bereaved by suicide a voice. Even though we know that people bereaved by suicide are at risk we do nothing,” she said. Outlining the results of a pilot study prior to the main survey launch, Dr McDonnell highlighted people from all walks of life were affected by suicide, with a high percentage needing hospital treatment for resulting mental health problems. “It would seem self-care is the only option for a lot of people, with a distinct lack of training or help offered,” she said, adding that Celebrants were often on the ‘front line’ and were among those who may well suffer issues due to suicide bereavement.
AOIC president Philip Spicksley pledged the Association’s support for the survey, and reminded delegates that all members had free access to the 24-hour help and support line, run by SAIF.
The survey is available for people to complete - click on this link.'