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Resources to help yourself or someone else
“Losing a child to suicide brings unimaginable pain. But, by accepting help, taking baby steps and connecting with others who have also been bereaved, there is peace of mind and hope for new life.”

Each year in Ireland around 400 people (C.S.O. 2018) take their own life – each suicide has a devastating and lasting impact on their families, friends and communities.

In January 2016, 11-year-old Milly Tuomey died by suicide. Devastated by her sudden death, Milly’s mother Fiona searched for a suicide support group in Dublin to help her with her grief but could not find one. So, after much discussion, research and support HUGG was established in February 2017.

Coming to accept that this loss is permanent, is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. You will not ‘get over’ this loss. But, with support and understanding you can grow around your loss.

Mission & Vision

To support adults who have been bereaved by suicide by reducing isolation and stigma and promoting resilience and healing.

We aim to achieve this by:
(a)
Providing peer support groups which promote social connection and coping mechanisms, led by volunteer facilitators who have taken part in evidence-based theoretical and practical training provided by HUGG, and who have themselves have been bereaved by suicide.

(b) Providing training to potential volunteer facilitators in the theory and practice of suicide bereavement group leadership, to enable us to provide support in all areas where support is needed. 

(c) Information and awareness through our website, other social media and literature for suicide bereaved adults who wish to access group support, and to other agencies in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.

(d) Liaising and exchanging information with similar groups in Ireland and abroad. 

(e) Encouraging and participating in suicide postvention research.

We Can Help

HUGG is a peer support organisation. We provide a safe, confidential environment in which those bereaved by suicide can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other. The aftermath of a suicide is shocking, debilitating, surreal, life changing. But you can learn to live with this loss. It is not easy, but we are here to help.

People who are suicide bereaved sometimes find it can be difficult for people who have not experienced suicide loss, including professionals, to understand what they are going through. Often the best conversations are had with peers – other people bereaved by suicide. Our support groups are facilitated by people who have been bereaved by suicide. The groups are open, meet fortnightly and are free of charge. You do not have to speak, there is healing in just being with those who understand your pain.

If you would like to come along to a HUGG group, just call us on 01 513 4048 (monitored answering machine) or email info@hugg.ie for more information.

Practical Support: What helps?

Although the pain of suicide loss cannot be eased quickly, there are things that can help
Take ‘time out’ for activities you enjoy - allow yourself time out from the pain you’re experiencing.
Stay connected to your loved ones and supportive people around you. Don’t isolate yourself.
Find ways to honour the life of the person who has died e.g. assemble a memory box, photo album, keep a journal, share happy memories and talk about their life.
Allow people to help you; don’t be embarrassed to accept help.
Don’t be afraid to tell people how they can help, even it is just to sit with you and hold your hand in silence. Sharing with other people can reduce the sense of isolation and aloneness that comes with grief.
Stay healthy – eat healthy meals, walk in nature, try to get a good night’s sleep, avoid non-prescription drugs and keep alcohol to a minimum.
Prioritise daily tasks, do only what is essential; be kind to yourself.
Consider joining a support group to share with others who have had similar experiences. This will help you realise that you are not alone in your experience and that you will survive.
Take opportunities to join in public ceremonies where you can be private, yet part of a larger group. You can use rituals and customs that are meaningful to you.
Talk with a registered psychotherapist who will help you to process what you are going through, and to find support and comfort in expressing your grief.
“HUGG has been a very much needed support to me. To be with others who totally understand the loss is just a relief, knowing you are not alone.”
Mother who lost her daughter

Get Involved

Volunteer
We need your support. To provide more support groups, we need facilitators. If you have been bereaved by suicide for more than 2 years and think you could lead a HUGG we want to hear from you. We will provide training, support and all the backup services needed.

If you are not sure, why not try our self-survey on group facilitation here. Then, email info@hugg.ie for more information.

Trustees
We are also looking for Trustees for our Board who have the skills and desire to make a difference to a much-needed organisation. If you have leadership, finance, marketing, fundraising or IT skills please get in touch. Call 01 513 4048 or email fiona@hugg.ie.

For information on the duties of a trustee, check out https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/media/1078/guidance-for-charity-trustees-july-2017.pdf

How suicide bereavement is different:

Spiral of grief
Bereavement by suicide shares characteristics with other bereavements and it is also different.  Understanding how and why it differs is helpful when you are supporting people who have been bereaved.

Suicide loss can affect your physical and mental health and sometimes includes dealing with thoughts of suicide. The grieving process is often complicated and typically lasts longer than other types of bereavement – significant effects may still be felt for many years after the death. Grief is as individual as a fingerprint. Each person will have had a unique relationship with the person who died – there is no single or correct way to experience bereavement. However, there are many common reactions and factors in bereavements by suicide.

Faced with a sudden, often unexpected and sometimes violent death, the suicide bereaved experience a grief which typically includes strong feelings of guilt, self-reproach and questioning – “why?”. Discomfort, shame and self-stigma associated with suicide can make it difficult to talk about. There may be further challenges to face which are not common to ‘normal’ bereavements e.g. inquests, media coverage, trauma reactions and difficult family relationships.

Aspects of the experience of bereavement by suicide which make it different can include:

“I was feeling quite isolated because I felt that no one else knows what I was feeling”.
Woman who lost her partner
• Circumstances of the loss
• Emotional and physical reactions
• Post-traumatic stress
• The suicide bereaved’ questions – “why?” and “could I have done something?”
• Stigma and isolation
• Family and community tensions
• Lack of privacy
• Investigations
• Practical concerns regarding finances, business, childcare etc.

Those bereaved by suicide often feel isolated at a time when they are hurting, suffering mental anguish and are vulnerable themselves to thoughts of suicide.  Even those fortunate enough to have strong support networks can still feel alone, unable to share their true feelings for fear of their impact on others, particularly when they are also in a caring role for others who are bereaved.

We Can Help

HUGG is a self-help organisation. We provide a safe, confidential environment in which those bereaved by suicide can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other. The aftermath of a suicide is shocking, debilitating, surreal, life changing. But you can learn to live with this loss. It is not easy, but we are here to help.
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HUGG is a registered charity which relies on donations to help fund our operations. No donation is too small.
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CHY No. 22421.  Registration No: 20204480.
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