A Special Scar
The experiences of people bereaved by suicide
Routledge – 2014 – 272 pages
Every 85 minutes someone in the UK takes their own life and the suicide rate is currently the highest since 2004. Society often reacts with unease, fear and even disapproval but what happens to those bereaved by a self-inflicted death? The reasons leading someone to take their own life are complex, and the bereavement reactions of survivors of suicide can also be complex, including shame, guilt, sadness and the effects of trauma, stigma and social isolation.
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 impact of suicide and offers practical help for survivors, relatives and friends of people who have taken their own life. Fifty bereaved people tell their 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 Classic Edition includes a brand-new introduction to the work and will 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.
'…a very readable book, well written, open, clear and accessible to all.'
Tony Morris, Self and Society
'…this is the best book on suicide on the market at the moment. It crosses many barriers and I feel it should be read widely, not only by bereavement professionals and volunteers, but also by bereaved people and others wishing to know more about this difficult subject.'
Josy Williams, Bereavement Care
'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.'
From the Foreword by Dr Colin Murray Parkes
Introduction to the Classic Edition. Foreword. Preface to the Second Edition. Acknowledgements. Part 1: Introduction. Part 2: Aspects of Suicide Bereavement. Part 3: Responding to People Bereaved by Suicide. Postscript. Appendix 1: Relevant Organisations. Appendix 2: The People Interviewed. References. Name Index. Subject Index.
Alison Wertheimer has been a freelance writer, researcher and counsellor since 1987, after working in the voluntary sector for twenty years.