Leading charities join forces to help people bereaved by suicide

Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care are launching a series of free support groups, named Facing the Future, for people bereaved by suicide.

Each group, with a maximum of eight participants, will provide vital and tailored support to those who have lost someone to suicide, as well as providing an opportunity to meet others who have had similar experiences.

Facing the Future groups are free of charge and available to anyone over 18 who has been bereaved by suicide. Each group session will last for 90 minutes and will run once a week over six consecutive weeks. The bereavement does not have to have been recent, although the service is designed for people bereaved for more than 3 months*.

The groups will be jointly led by experienced Samaritans and Cruse volunteers who have received specialist training in helping those bereaved by suicide.

Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans said, “Those bereaved by suicide are at an increased risk of taking their own lives.  We believe this highly specialist support will reduce that danger.  We hope that offering confidential support thorough these groups will help people find a way forward.” 

Debbie Kerslake, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care said, “The type of grief experienced by those bereaved by suicide is intense and the emotions experienced in the aftermath can differ from those following other types of death.  These support groups are a unique opportunity for those affected to share their feelings in a safe space.”

The idea was developed in 2011 by Kensington and Chelsea Cruse and Central London Samaritans. After the success of their groups, the two charities decided to expand the service further.

In June 2014, Facing the Future was given three years of funding by the Department of Health to take place in pilot areas around the UK which will include York, Exeter, Coventry and Essex.

Alistair Burt, Minister for Community and Social Care, who attended the launch event at Samaritans New Cross branch said, “Having had the chance to meet those directly affected by the suicide of a loved one, the evidence could not be clearer as to why these support groups are so valuable.  I am so proud to be supporting Facing the Future, and would encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out for support.  It really can make all the difference.”

For further information about Facing the Future, or to sign up to a group, visit www.facingthefuturegroups.org


Notes to editors

For more information, images, or to arrange an interview, please contact Jane Bolger in the Samaritans Press team on 020 8394 8300 or email press@samaritans.org

* Participants must have been bereaved by suicide for more than three months when the group starts.  Earlier than that people may still be experiencing a high level of shock and could find it difficult to share their feelings. 

Benefits of attending a Facing the Future group

  • Understanding: People grieving because of suicide can feel very alone, suffering from a kind of loss they feel others may not understand. Even with supportive family and friends, participants find it helpful to talk with others who have experienced a similar loss.
  • Safety: Participants tell us they feel safe in the group. They’re free to express themselves with others who are also grieving as a result of suicide.  
  • Coping: The group supports one another to come to conclusions that often lead to acceptance and increased hope for facing the future. Everyone who has taken part in a group has said they would recommend groups to others. 
  • Respect: Participants feel they are listened to in a respectful environment. Even when people are sharing things they may never have said out loud before, there is a non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere.


  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of the nearest branch.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and work to enhance society’s care of bereaved people. Please call 08444 77 94 00, email helpline@cruse.org.uk or visit www.cruse.org.uk