Help at hand for families bereaved by suicide

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A BEREAVEMENT booklet called ‘Mystic Poems and Healing’ has been created to help provide hope and comfort to families bereaved by suicide. It was launched at a ceremony of lights event, held to provide an opportunity for bereaved families to meet and share experiences in the run up to Christmas.

The booklet contains inspirational stories from people bereaved by suicide and poetry written by Barney Glasgow who lost his son to suicide. The personal stories will hopefully help others who find themselves on this bereavement journey.

More than 70 people who have been bereaved by suicide attended the ceremony of lights which included carol singing and lighting candles to remember the loved ones they have lost. During the ceremony, Barney highlighted his positive experience of receiving support through The Bereaved by Suicide Project, an initiative put in place by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in recognition of the devastating effect suicide can have on family and friends. Through this project, one to one counselling by trained bereavement councillors and support groups are available free of charge to bereaved families and friends at any stage after their loss. The Project was developed through the ‘Northern Area Promoting Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Steering Group’ and is funded by the Public Health Agency.

Danielle Gallagher, Bereavement Support Worker said: “The event was an opportunity for families to come together at Christmas time and remember their loved ones. Each family received a copy of the bereavement booklet along with an angel of hope. The booklets will help people to know that they are not grieving alone and over 1,000 copies will be made available to bereaved family and friends. As Christmas can be a very difficult time, it was a great opportunity for families to meet and make new connections with those in the same situation.”

Anyone who has been bereaved by suicide and would like more information about the project should call 028 2563 6607 or email

People in distress or despair for any reason and who need support can contact Lifeline, Northern Ireland’s confidential 24/7 crisis helpline, on 0808 808 8000.