27th November 2001




University lecturers in Hull have developed a new video training pack to support professions dealing with the growing number of suicides among young people.


The pack is aimed at volunteers, nurses, police officers, social care workers, doctors, teachers and coroners’ officers and has been developed by University of Lincoln couple Dr Heather Ferguson-Brown, a senior lecturer in Social Work, and Visiting Professor Malcolm Brown. 


During the past year they have interviewed and filmed 17 families from across the country whose close young relatives have taken their own lives and who were willing to share their experiences.


The pack also includes a 45-minute interview with nationally renowned psychiatrist Dr Colin Murray-Parkes, a specialist in grief and bereavement who has had close contact with those affected by major disasters such as Lockerbie and the World Trade Centre.


“The number of suicides among young people has almost doubled in the last 25 years and is particularly high among young men,” commented Prof Brown. “It’s very difficult to attribute different reasons but it is most likely that increased stress, demanding career expectations, mental illness and drug use all play a part.”


Dr Heather Ferguson-Brown added: “Suicide is a very sensitive issue, but by highlighting the problems that family members face when dealing with loss and bereavement, we may be able to help others and provide some clues as to how to prevent the growing number of suicides.  


“We hope that trainers will use different elements of the video training pack for different purposes and a training manual gives guidance as to how the tapes may be used and includes some suggested outlines of short courses.”


The couple, whose careers in social work have spanned more than 30 years, liaised with bereavement support organisations such as SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide), Papyrus and Cruse Bereavement Care.


The training pack is expected to be available in December from the Concord Video and Film Council. Contact Dr Heather Ferguson-Brown on 01482 464178.


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For more information contact: Jez Ashberry,

University of Lincoln Tel: 01522 886042 email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk

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