Suicide Postvention Issues Faced by UK & Ireland adult males

John Whitebrook, a researcher in the UK, invited HUGG members to participate in a qualitative study of postvention issues faced by UK and Ireland adult males bereaved by suicide. 

Based on ten interviews he found several postvention enablers and postvention barriers.  Postvention is a specific form of intervention which is provided after a suicide in recognition of the increased risk of suicidal ideation among the bereaved family, friends, and community. 

Below is a list of what is helpful to support men who are bereaved by suicide: 

  • Provide information men can digest in their own time
  • Activities with implicit suicide bereavement support/informal support
  • Activities with a physical/outdoor component
  • Female accompaniment and lack of pressure to speak 
  • Hybrid meeting (don’t have to walk into a room of mainly women)
  • Men-only suicide bereavement peer support groups
  • Overt encouragement of men to share their feelings, i.e. don’t reinforce stereotypes by leaving them to internalise emotions
  • Involvement in advocacy for bereavement charity 


What is not helpful for men bereaved by suicide and poses a barrier to support is:

  • Pressure (real or perceived) to talk about emotions
  • Societal expectations of stoicism (internally or externally generated) 
  • Feeling a responsibility to step in/fix things (in a mixed group)
  • Family support directed towards females
  • Female dominance in support activities (self-fulling prophecy)
  • Delegation of grieving to females
  • Can’t match what other men are doing e.g. ‘Three Dads Walking’
  • Men-only mental health groups not having a suicide bereavement focus 
  • Financial constraints (prioritise others/females) – breadwinner role


We are grateful to John for his work in this space and for sharing these valuable insights with us.  

We are also proud to launch HUGG Men, a dedicated suicide bereavement support group, led by men for men.  If you are interested in learning more about HUGG Men, please email to speak with our telephone supporter who can answer any questions you might have.  If you are ready to join HUGG Men, fill out the form here:

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