HUGG, the national suicide bereavement charity, is launching its first dedicated Donegal peer support group for the suicide bereaved on the evening of Tuesday, 8th February.
HUGG provides a free, safe and confidential environment where those bereaved by suicide can share their experiences and feelings, and receive and offer support to each other. All of HUGG’s peer support groups are led by people with lived experience of suicide. HUGG focuses on “postvention”, a specific form of intervention which is conducted after a suicide in recognition of the increased risk of suicidal ideation among the bereaved friends and family.
Donegal locals Valerie McLucas and Paul Grant participated in HUGG’s comprehensive facilitator training programme last year. Both have lived experience of suicide, a requirement of becoming a HUGG facilitator. This ensures a better understanding and appreciation of the emotions and trauma group attendees may be going through.
Reflecting on why she signed up to be a HUGG facilitator, Valerie stated, “I lost my husband Pablo December 2018. In the first few months after his death I just wanted to talk to people who had been through something similar to see how they had coped. I joined HUGG and later went on to train a Group Facilitator. I hope that what I have been through and, my experience, may help someone else. I also want to give back to the community the support and encouragement I have received by providing a safe space to help someone else through HUGG”.
Paul Grant lost his 32-year-old sister to suicide and outlined his reasons for supporting HUGG, “My sister Jenny died in October 2018 at 32 years old and I felt like I was drowning afterwards. I didn’t know where to go or who I could speak to. I did attend some meetings with a counsellor, but they had no experience with suicide, which I found frustrating. I joined HUGG and felt it was a great way for people who had been bereaved by suicide to talk openly about their own tragic experiences together. People don’t have to go through this journey on their own”.
Commenting on the launch of the new group, Fiona Tuomey, Founder and CEO of HUGG, said, “We’re delighted to have such capable volunteers as Valerie and Paul, to facilitate a new HUGG support group in Donegal. We recognise that there is a real need for suicide bereavement support in the region. I know it will greatly benefit the local community here and I hope we can continue recruiting more facilitators in Ulster to extend our services into further counties.”
People can enquire to attend the group through www.hugg.ie or by calling 01 513 4048. The public can support HUGG by:
- Becoming a facilitator if the bereavement is over three years ago
- Donating online at hugg.ie to fund HUGG’s services and facilitator training programme