Dr Alexandra Pitman

Dr Alexandra Pitman is a Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry in the UCL Division of Psychiatry and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.  Her research interests are in the epidemiology of suicide and self-harm, and in approaches to preventing suicide. For her PhD, she conducted a national survey of people bereaved by suicide, which found that people bereaved by suicide are at greater risk of suicide attempt than people bereaved by other sudden deaths, and significantly more likely to perceive stigma and a lack of informal support. She was a member of the Public Health England expert reference group on suicide bereavement and contributed to the 2017 Public Health England publication Support after a suicide: a guide to providing local services. She has been funded by the MRC, NIHR, ESRC, McPin Foundation, and Marie Curie to conduct research into the impact of bereavement.

Barry McGale

Barry is a Cognitive Therapist and is the 2016 winner of the American Association of Suicidology,  Roger J Tierney Award for services in suicide prevention. He was the Suicide Awareness Co-ordinator in the Western Health & Social Care Trust and was responsible for the implementation of the former Western Health and Social Services Board Suicide Prevention Strategy. Throughout the implementation of the strategy both locally and regionally, he was struck by the lack of services for the bereaved by suicide and as a result, he investigated what postvention services existed globally. Barry has worked all over the world to improve suicide prevention services; USA, Australia, Cuba and Canada. He trained with  Dr Frank Campbell in active postvention and developed the first active postvention service in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Barry has He has delivered presentations on suicide and suicidal behaviour both nationally and internationally. Barry was also instrumental in bringing the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and Safetalk programmes from Canada to the UK and Ireland. He is a Senior Coaching Trainer with Living works Incorporated in Canada and travels globally delivering ASIST Training for Trainers. The current service in the Western Trust is one that has been recognised as a model of best practice and the “Derry Model” has been referred to in parliament as the model that should be replicated throughout the UK. Barry was appointed as a member of the Scottish Executive’s Research Expert Group on Suicidal Behaviour and was a member of the Northern Ireland Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability subgroup on mental health promotion and suicide prevention. Barry is a former Director of the Board of the Irish Association of Suicidology and a member of the American Association of Suicidology. He was also the Chairperson of Youthlife. In 2013, Barry was appointed to the Board of Members and the Executive Committee of The National Suicide Research Foundation (Ireland).

Angela Samata

Angela presented the BBC1 BAFTA nominated and winner of the Mind Media Award for Best Factual TV documentary, ‘Life After Suicide’. The film challenged the stigma of suicide, with Angela sharing her experiences and that of her children after her partner took his own life 14 years ago. The documentary was reshown as part of the BBC’s Mental Health Season #InTheMind and was watched worldwide by over 4.5 million viewers. Angela is uniquely qualified to represent the views of those bereaved by suicide and was for 4 years as Chair and is now Ambassador, of the Survivors of the Bereaved by Suicide. Under her Chairmanship the number of support groups doubled, offering support to over 7,000 people bereaved by suicide each year. Angela is also an invited attendee of the All-Party Parliamentary Group looking at Suicide Prevention in England and Wales. Her charity work, together with the making of the documentary was recognised as Angela was named as the Merseyside Woman of the Year 2015. As a freelance Arts professional for over a decade, Angela continues to work with individual artists and arts organisations, while also speaking publicly about mental health issues. Often her work in Mental Health and the Arts come together and in 2018 she will complete a Winston Churchill Fellowship looking at both disciplines.

Leadership Team

Hamish Elvidge

Chair of the SASP

Hamish Elvidge had a 30-year career in J Sainsbury plc as Finance, IT and Change Director and as Competition Inquiry Director. He is chair of The Matthew Elvidge Trust, which was formed after his son Matthew took his own life. The Trust aims to increase everyone’s understanding of the importance of mental health and ensure people seek and receive the right professional support. He is a member of various other organisations including the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group.

Fergus Crow

Vice Chair of the SASP

Fergus is the CEO of Winston’s Wish and joined as Chief Executive in October 2015. He has held several roles in education and children’s services. Fergus believes passionately that with the right support at the right time children who have been bereaved can learn to live with their grief, adjust to the changes that the death of someone close to them inevitably brings, and go on to lead full and flourishing lives. This belief stems not only from his professional understanding but also from his own experience of losing his father to cancer when Fergus was 19.

Anne Embury

Anne holds postgraduate qualifications in Counselling & Psychotherapy and a Master’s Degree in Reflective Practice.  She is a Senior Accredited member of BACP with over 20 years’ experience working in NHS mental health services, including practice as a therapist and supervisor within an IAPT service. Anne is employed by Outlook South West, a provider of mental health services in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, and has been instrumental in developing the first NHS-commissioned postvention service in England to support adults bereaved by suicide. As a Churchill Fellow, Anne visited Australia and New Zealand in 2014 to observe best practice in community-based postvention services in those countries which include the delivery of suicide bereavement support groups.  In Cornwall, she has developed an 8-week evidence-based Grief Education Programme for people bereaved by suicide which has proven to be effective in helping to facilitate resilience and wellbeing in the bereaved.  As a member of the Support After Suicide Partnership, Anne has co-edited with the chair of the National Bereavement Alliance UK, guidelines for the delivery of bereavement support groups.

Richard Brown

Listening Ear is a specialist counselling and therapeutic service based in Liverpool. In 2012, Richard joined Listening Ear which delivers a range of activities with specific focus on bereavement support. Richard is also on the board of “SEN Merseyside”, having previously been Chair for four years, and is Chair of Knowsley Supporting Families Forum. Prior to the work at Listening Ear, Richard worked at a range of roles at The Big Issue in the North/ Trust for 16 years, ultimately as the Managing Director.

Penny Fosten

Penny has led the NSPA for over 2 years, in which time she has overseen the development and launch of their Resources Hub, grown organisational and individual membership by over 100% and worked with Public Health England to refresh their Suicide Prevention Planning Guidance for Local Authorities. Before joining the NSPA she had ten years’ experience of working to improve well-being, including establishing a ‘reading for well-being’ programme in London – helping to reduce loneliness, build confidence and connection, and enhance people’s understanding of themselves and others. Previously, Penny spent five years volunteering within suicide prevention.

Shirley Smith

Shirley started If U Care Share Foundation with her husband Dean due to their own experiences after losing their eldest son Daniel at the age of 19. There was a need for support, education and awareness to the problem of suicide. She is now an active member of the SASP and the Leadership Team, including taking a leading role in our research projects.

David Mosse

David Mosse is the Chair of the Haringey Suicide Prevention Group, and member of The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities (TASC). He has been a Trustee of Mind in Haringey since 2015 and is strongly committed to improving mental health services. David is a Professor of Social Anthropology and Research Co-ordinator, and Head of Department at SOAS, University of London. His personal experience of bereavement by suicide has made him passionate about suicide prevention and working against mental health stigma.

Head Office

Sarah Bates

Executive Lead of the SASP

Since taking up post in 2016, Sarah has worked to raise awareness of the need for suicide bereavement support, increase the capacity of support and access to resources, and has driven the programme of work with the NHS to provide sucide bereavement support in every area of the country. Sarah is a Winston Churchill Fellow, and completed her Fellowship in Japan and Hong Kong in 2018. She has a background in psychology (MA Hons) and neuroscience (PhD), and over 15 years’ experience of working in service development, mental health, and supporting children and young people.

Saira Waheed

Project Manager at the SASP

Saira has a BSc in psychology and will gain her Masters in mental health studies during the summer of 2020. She also volunteers at The Listening Place, a charity which supports individuals who are suicidal. Her passion for mental health and helping others has made her dedicated towards working within suicide bereavement. Saira has led our work to develop Guidelines for bereavement support groups, and is currently co-ordinating our podcast series, After Suicide.

Holly Tolson

Project Manager at the SASP

Holly started working with the SASP following a summer interneship with us, for which she was awarded ‘Micro-placement student of the year, 2018’ by City University, London. Holly works with our Members and Partners; co-ordinating our network across the UK, developing formal partnerships with services on the bereavement pathway, and ensuring our Members are informed and involved. She is due to complete her undergraduate degree in Psychology (BSc) in the summer of 2020.

Sue Christie

Implementation Manager of the SASP

Sue joined the team in January 2020, bringing with her over 30 years' experience in Mental Health with NHS England. Sue is a certified Mental Health Social Worker, and has experience of working across local authorities, NHS Trusts, and the Department of Health. Sue leads our work with NHS England to provide suicide bereavement support in every area of the country; co-ordinating our Central Hub, driving the development of services, and providing bespoke support to STPs.

Our Aims and Vision

The Support After Suicide Partnership strives to provide individuals who have been bereaved by suicide with appropriate and timely support. We are a special interest group of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance who focuses on supporting those bereaved or affected by suicide. SASP works as a collaborative network to provide effective advocation, signposting and research within suicide bereavement in order to ensure bereaved individuals are equipped with the support and resources they need.

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Dr Smith