SAIF has announced a new national counselling service to provide vital help to families following the death of a loved one.
SAIF Care will offer free and confidential support through a telephone helpline, email service, online chat facility or six face-to-face sessions with a counsellor.
Independent funeral directors can join the scheme as part of their SAIF membership ahead of the public launch early next year.
Matthew Gallagher, from P & S Gallagher funeral services, who was one of six SAIF members to take part in an initial six-month trial of the service, said: “SAIF Care is a fantastic idea and we have already seen the positive impact it has had on many of the families we have supported. None of the other firms in our area provide anything similar so it is great to see SAIF taking the lead on such an important issue.”
The launch of SAIF Care comes at a time when there is growing recognition of the number of people in the UK who struggle with their mental health following the death of a loved one.
A recent survey by Child Bereavement UK revealed that one in four British adults who have been bereaved of a close family member said they felt lonely and 23 percent wished their friends had called to talk with them.
Terry Tennens, chief executive of SAIF, said: “Bereavement and the impact on mental health is an often overlooked issue and unfortunately many people have to face the struggle alone. During this difficult time, having someone to talk to can make a real difference which is why I am very pleased we are able to provide this important new service.
“As independent firms, our members see themselves as more than just funeral directors. Together, we believe in helping families every step of the way and SAIF Care is yet another way of demonstrating the personal service and commitment our members have to their local communities. Our members see this end to end client care, care of the deceased and care of the next of kin. We expect many more of our members will sign up to offer SAIF Care to their clients over the coming months.”
For more information about SAIF Care and how to sign up visit www.saif.org.uk.