The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) has launched a free counselling service for their 106 members in Scotland.
The scheme, called ‘SAIFSupport’, will provide advice and guidance for funeral directors and their staff who look after families during the most difficult time of their life but often neglect their own mental wellbeing.
The support service will be run by Professional Help, a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, which specialises in counselling for workplace stress.
The service will provide a free and confidential telephone and email helpline and funeral directors who need further support will be offered six free counselling sessions.
Alun Tucker, Executive Chairman of SAIF, commented: “Our members in Scotland are independent funeral directors, often family run, who take care of anyone who walks through their door during a difficult time of bereavement – apart from themselves. These are people who often enter the profession at a young age and the emotional stress that is inherent in the nature of the job can really take its toll especially when supporting a family where there are particularly tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one.
“This emotional stress is something I experienced during my time as a funeral director but unfortunately there was no counselling service available. I am very pleased to be able to launch SAIFSupport and I strongly encourage our members in Scotland to make use of the service to discuss anything that is concerning them.”
The announcement comes at a time of increasing recognition of the need for employees in all industries to have access to support and guidance.
Catherine Betley, from Professional Help, who is leading the counselling service, added: “Providing emotional support for funeral directors is not something people would immediately think is necessary, but it is a very challenging industry to work in and it is important to ensure that there is support in place for those who need it.”
She added: “We recognise the strain workplace stress can put on employers and employees and we have a very good understanding of the funeral industry. I am delighted to be working with SAIF on this invaluable service which will provide immediate and confidential support to independent funeral directors in Scotland.”
SAIFSupport can be contacted on 0800 077 8578 or by email.