Our Patrons

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.