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Suicide Bereavement Service
Development Consultancy

Suicide Bereavement UK provides a confidential, bespoke suicide bereavement consultancy to individuals or organisations responsible for planning, developing, commissioning or delivering support for those bereaved or affected by suicide.

Suicide and its impact

Approximately 6,000 people die by suicide annually in the UK. For every person who dies by suicide, around 135 people are affected. Those bereaved by suicide are significantly at higher risk of dying by suicide themselves; thus a key aspect of suicide prevention is ‘postvention’ – i.e. providing appropriate support for people who have been affected when someone dies by suicide.

Why is it important to develop suicide bereavement services?

A key area of action in many governmental suicide prevention strategies is to provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide. Increasing pressure is being placed on the NHS and public health organisations to develop and deliver suicide bereavement services in every area of the country (NHS, England 20191).  However, evidence suggests that most professionals in the UK who come into contact with this vulnerable population, are often anxious and uncertain how to respond to and care for them. This issue is also pertinent for those who are responsible for commissioning such services. Suicide Bereavement UK provides consultancy on all of these matters.

1 NHS (2019) The Long Term Plan 

Our suicide bereavement consultancy will support your organisation to:

  • Develop  suicide bereavement services and/or a postvention pathway
  • Respond appropriately to and support those bereaved by suicide (e.g. patients, clients, prisoners, students and employees in the workplace)

Our expertise

Suicide Bereavement UK’s team members come from diverse backgrounds; each is a recognised expert in their field. In combination, our team members offer a specialist and unique skill-set in the field of postvention (i.e. care of those bereaved by suicide), and the ability to provide postvention consultancy across the lifespan, in all settings.

Examples of our team members’ practical experience:

Work with children, adults, families and professionals affected by suicide in many scenarios (including emergency services, military and prison settings)

Set-up and delivery in 2008 of the first NHS suicide bereavement service in one part of the UK, now being replicated around the country

Development of regional postvention pathways in the UK (including full reports and recommendations)

Promotion of a trauma-informed critical incident framework and service response plan for responding to deaths by suicide

Provision of immediate postvention following deaths by suicide in the UK 

Development, delivery and evaluation of bespoke ‘Postvention Assisting those Bereaved By Suicide (PABBS)’ evidence-based training (PABBS is listed by Public Health England)

Development of key postvention resources through membership of advisory groups e.g. our research has informed the evidence base of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on suicide prevention. Dr McDonnell’s expert written testimony also forms part of the NICE guidelines.

Conduct and publication  of suicide bereavement research, which is informing policy and practice e.g. Dr Sharon McDonnell is lead for the National Suicide Bereavement Survey on behalf of the University of Manchester and Support After Suicide Partnership in collaboration with team member Barry McGale; our work in suicide bereavement has been referenced in several parliamentary debates (e.g. Hansard 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017)



For more information contact:

Dr Sharon McDonnell
Tel: 01706 827 359
Email: sharon.mcdonnell@suicidebereavementuk.com
Website: https://suicidebereavementuk.com