A Special Scar
The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide, 2e
Foreword by Colin Murray Parkes
Published June 14th 2001 by Routledge – 288 pages
Every 85 minutes someone in the UK takes their own life, but what happens to those left behind? In a society where suicide is often viewed with fear or disapproval, it can be difficult for those personally affected by a suicide death to come to terms with their loss and seek help and support. A Special Scar looks in detail at the stigma surronding suicide and offers practical help for survivors, relatives and friends of people who have taken their own life. Fifty bereaved people tell their own stories, showing us that, by not hiding the truth from themselves and others, they have been able to learn to live with the suicide, offering hope to others facing this traumatic loss. This new, revised edition includes new material on:
* counselling survivors of suicide
* group work with survivors.
The new material incorporates the latest research findings which have added significantly to our understanding of the impact of suicide, an area which the UK Government has targeted for action in the mental health arena. This new edition will continue to be an invaluable resource for survivors of suicide as well as for all those who are in contact with them, including police and coroner's officers, bereavement services, self-help organisations for survivors, mental health professionals, social workers, GPs, counsellors and therapists.
Alison Wertheimer has been working as a freelance writer and researcher since 1987, after working in the voluntary sector for twenty years. She has a private counselling practice, is a supervisor with a bereavement counselling service and runs workshops on the impact of suicide bereavement.
'The first edition of this important book opened our eyes to the special needs of people bereaved by suicide. Since that time the author and others have increased our understanding of these needs and helped to develop services to meet them. In this second edition she has drawn on this knowledge and experience to augment and enhance the foundation which she laid… a volume which will be of value to members of caring professions, counsellors and other bereavement service providers.' - Colin Murray Parkes, in his Foreword
'It is not a textbook for counsellors; nor a self-help support for those bereaved by suicide; nor a support for the suicidal; nor a collection of case studies. It is all of these and more: and greater than the sum of its chapters… Despite its dark content, this is a very readable book, well written, open, clear and accessible to all. I would strongly recommend it to all therapists; to other helpers such as the clergy, police, undertakers and others whose work involves the emotionally distressed. It is particularly valuable to those bereaved by suicide, even if the event was many years ago. One intervention when counselling the suicidal is to ask "who would be affected by your death?" This book shows that the answer can never be a despairing "No one". So, paradoxically, it is also a book, in appropriate circumstances, for potential victims as well.' - Tony Morris, in Self & Society, Vol 31 No 2, June-July 2003
Murray Parkes, Foreword. Part I: Introduction. Suicide: An Introduction. Survivors of Suicide. Part II: Aspects of Suicide Bereavement. Meeting the Survivors. When the Suicide Happens. Looking Back. Why Did it Happen? The Search For Understanding. The Inquest. Funerals. Facing Suicide as a Family. The Impact of Suicide on Individual Family Members. Facing the World. Looking for Support. Facing the Feelings. Finding a Way Through. Meeting the Needs of Survivors. Groups for People Bereaved by Suicide. Counselling People Bereaved by Suicide. Relevant Organisations. The People Interviewed for the Book.