There are now many potential sources of help and support for the bereaved person. Depending on where they live and what they are looking for, they may be able to choose between specialist and non-specialist, volunteer or professional, medical or non-medical, religious or secular assistance (Parkes 1998). The number of local bereavement services is increasing and more professional trainings are incorporating modules on loss and bereavement.
Many of the fifty people I interviewed in the late 1980s had been able to find some help, but as their experiences suggest, it was not always adequate, timely or appropriate and they had many suggestions about how their own needs could have been met more satisfactorily. Since then, we have witnessed a modest growth in the number of self-help and support groups for survivors, and anecdotal evidence suggests that bereavement services are receiving more referrals from people mourning a suicide death. However, we still have a long way to go before a comprehensive range of support is routinely available to individuals and families bereaved by suicide.
Over the last decade, new research into the impact of suicide has added to our knowledge and understanding of the particular needs of those bereaved by suicide and how these might be addressed in ways which will promote a healthy outcome of grieving. The experiences of organisations supporting survivors are also valuable in contributing to our understanding of survivors' needs.
Part 3 has been expanded to take account of some of these developments. It is intended as a resource for the growing numbers of people who are being asked to offer assistance and support to suicide survivors, though it does not claim to be comprehensive. Two new chapters focus on longer-term help, namely groups for people bereaved by suicide (Chapter 16) and individual counselling (Chapter 17). This chapter outlines the range of potential needs among survivors which have been identified in the literature on suicide bereavement, and goes on to describe briefly the current sources of support and assistance in the UK. The following section discusses the survivor's