Our Patrons

Julia Samuel MBE

Julia Samuel is a psychotherapist specialising in grief, who has spent the last twenty-five years working with bereaved families. She has worked both in private practice and in the NHS at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington where she pioneered the role of maternity and paediatric psychotherapist. In 1994 she worked to help launch and establish Child Bereavement UK (founded as the Child Bereavement Trust), and as Founder Patron, continues to play an active role in the charity. Julia was awarded an MBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list for services to bereaved children.  Julia’s first book: Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving, was published in 2017.

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 Livingworks 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)