Delivering suicide bereavement support: Sharon McDonnell

Delivering suicide bereavement support: Sharon McDonnell

Delivering suicide bereavement support: Sharon McDonnell

Introduction

Over 6,000 people die by suicide in the UK every year. Evidence suggests that each death affects an additional 135 people and significantly increases the risk of suicide among those who have lost someone in this way.

“My Churchill Fellowship gave me the confidence to set up Suicide Bereavement UK." - Dr Sharon McDonnell, Fellow

Suicide bereavement researcher Dr Sharon McDonnell (CF 2013) was inspired by her Fellowship to set up Suicide Bereavement UK, an organisation that specialises in suicide bereavement research, training and consultancy for professionals. Through this work, Sharon works to educate and empower professionals who come into contact with those bereaved by suicide and help reduce stigma and the suicide rate amongst those bereaved by suicide. She is recognised as an international expert in this field, both as a suicide bereavement researcher and in developing and delivering evidence-based suicide bereavement training. In 2018 Sharon provided testimony to the NICE committee on developing postvention guidelines in primary care and custodial settings. Her work has been recognised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide Prevention and cited in the House of Commons.

Sharon recently led the National Suicide Bereavement Survey, the largest suicide bereavement survey in the world. The survey was carried out as a collaboration between the University of Manchester and Support After Suicide Partnership, gathering the experiences and needs of over 7,000 people bereaved or affected by suicide. Findings from this survey will inform one of the key objectives in England’s Suicide Prevention Strategy “to provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide” and the NHS Long Term Plan to “provide specialist crisis support for those bereaved or affected by suicide across England by 2024”.

Sharon lost her brother to suicide in 1990 and this led her to specialise in suicide bereavement research. At the time, Sharon discovered that no specialist suicide provision existed within the NHS, which inspired her to take action. Her Fellowship to Australia and New Zealand explored best practice in caring for those affected by suicide bereavement.

Sharon says, “My Churchill Fellowship gave me the confidence to set up Suicide Bereavement UK to advance understanding in this under-researched field, inform policy and practice, in order help address a national unmet need and save lives.”

“My Churchill Fellowship gave me the confidence to set up Suicide Bereavement UK." - Dr Sharon McDonnell, Fellow

Suicide bereavement researcher Dr Sharon McDonnell (CF 2013) was inspired by her Fellowship to set up Suicide Bereavement UK, an organisation that specialises in suicide bereavement research, training and consultancy for professionals. Through this work, Sharon works to educate and empower professionals who come into contact with those bereaved by suicide and help reduce stigma and the suicide rate amongst those bereaved by suicide. She is recognised as an international expert in this field, both as a suicide bereavement researcher and in developing and delivering evidence-based suicide bereavement training. In 2018 Sharon provided testimony to the NICE committee on developing postvention guidelines in primary care and custodial settings. Her work has been recognised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide Prevention and cited in the House of Commons.

Sharon recently led the National Suicide Bereavement Survey, the largest suicide bereavement survey in the world. The survey was carried out as a collaboration between the University of Manchester and Support After Suicide Partnership, gathering the experiences and needs of over 7,000 people bereaved or affected by suicide. Findings from this survey will inform one of the key objectives in England’s Suicide Prevention Strategy “to provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide” and the NHS Long Term Plan to “provide specialist crisis support for those bereaved or affected by suicide across England by 2024”.

Sharon lost her brother to suicide in 1990 and this led her to specialise in suicide bereavement research. At the time, Sharon discovered that no specialist suicide provision existed within the NHS, which inspired her to take action. Her Fellowship to Australia and New Zealand explored best practice in caring for those affected by suicide bereavement.

Sharon says, “My Churchill Fellowship gave me the confidence to set up Suicide Bereavement UK to advance understanding in this under-researched field, inform policy and practice, in order help address a national unmet need and save lives.”