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Support available after tragedy at South Terrace

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Support for those struggling to cope with the death of four family members is available throughout the island (File photograph)

Churches, charities and clinical and counselling services around the island have assured the community they are on hand to support them after the tragic deaths of four family members.

A range of support including spiritual, emotional and clinical help is available for those experiencing grief, trauma or other conditions as a result of the deaths, which included two children.

The family of four were found dead in an apartment in South Terrace, Pembroke, on Sunday, sparking a police investigation.

Gina Spence, of Gina Spence Programme (formerly Productions), said the charity offered clinical and counselling services for those experiencing any form of grief or loss, but emphasised that it specialised in providing support for grieving children.

She told The Royal Gazette: “We are deep in the trenches working with so many different groups in the community. We send our deepest condolences to families and communities that have been affected by this recent traumatic event.”

Kenneth Manders, interim pastor for the Somerset Seventh-day Adventist Church and the president of the Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (File photograph)

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that help was available for those who were struggling to cope with the tragedy or any other mental health issues. She urged those in need of help to reach out to the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute or the Bermuda Red Cross.

She echoed sentiments voiced by David Burt, the Premier, about the tragic loss felt by the community.

“It’s impact is being felt throughout the island and, naturally, with such a devastating event, there will be effects on individuals, especially the children who may have had close ties with the deceased,” she said.

“In times like these, it is essential to unite as a community and support one another.”

Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors, highlighted that the Department of Child and Family Service’s counselling team specialised in crisis and grief counselling for children and parents.

Kenneth Manders, the interim pastor for the Somerset Seventh-day Adventist Church and the president of the Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said all of its parish churches were on hand to help.

Its Devonshire Parish and Pembroke Parish churches are within the communities where the tragedy occurred.

Dr Manders said: “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is deeply saddened by the recent and tragic incident that has affected all of us. When one hurts, all of us hurt.

“Our Devonshire and Pembroke churches are right there in that community. They will be on hand as well as the rest of the churches in the parishes around the island.”

Members of the community pray at a vigil held at the Devonshire Seventh-day Adventist Church yesterday (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

The Warwick Seventh-day Adventist Church on South Road held a vigil in response to the tragedy on Monday.

The Devonshire and Pembroke churches held a vigil yesterday at the Devonshire Parish church on Roberts Avenue, a short distance away from South Terrace.

Richard Martin told those in attendance, including Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, that there was a need for the community to band together after the tragedy.

“We want to reclaim our neighbourhood,” he said. “We want this to become a reservoir of healing power.”

There will be a vigil at the Somerset Seventh-day Adventist Church at 6 Beacon Hill Road, Somerset this evening from 7pm to 8pm. The doors will be open to all.

Also at the Somerset church, there will be a prayer with grief counsellors on hand on Saturday at 11am led by Dr Manders.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church of Bermuda hosts weekly Zoom sessions featuring praise, prayer and preaching every Tuesday at 7pm.

Support in the community

The Women’s Resource Centre: E-mail: wrc@wrcbermuda.com. Phone: 295-3882.

The Gina Spence Programme: E-mail: info@gspcharity.com. Phone: 296-0016.

Solstice: E-mail: info@solstice.bm. Phone: 292-3456.

• The Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute: Phone: 239-1111.

• The Bermuda Red Cross: Phone: 236-8253

The Family Centre: E-mail: info@tfc.bm. Phone: 232-1116.

The Department of Child and Family Services: Phone: 296-7575.

Employee Assistance Programme: E-mail: info@eap.bm. Phone: 292-9000.

Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists: 292-4110.

Devonshire Seventh-day Adventist Church of Love: Phone: 292-1578.

St Paul AME Church: Phone: 292-0505. Address: 59 Court Street, Pembroke.

The Anglican Church of Bermuda: Phone: 292-6987.

Also, Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, said this week that his ministry was co-ordinating counselling and other support services. He encouraged anyone in need of help to contact Leroy Bean at 799-7972.

Archdeacon Jerry Smith at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Church Street said that the Anglican Church was also ready to provide support throughout the island.

He said: “Anyone needing support can call their parish Anglican churches, the clergy are on call for emergencies just like this to provide support through trauma and grief.

“Each of the parishes on the island have their churches, if in doubt they can call the cathedral and we can direct them to where they can get support.

“Our clergy are equipped to offer emotional and spiritual support while people are experiencing grief or trauma and have a catalogue of resources they can direct people towards around the island if they don't feel qualified in any specific area.

“There are resources on island to help people to walk through grief and trauma.”

The Reverend Nicholas Tweed (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Reverend Nicholas Tweed said the African Methodist Episcopal Church could provide support and assist with facilitating resources.

He said: “We continue to be available for spiritual support and also in connecting people to counselling and support services.

“They can contact the pastor for the AME church closest to them, or wherever they feel most comfortable. Support is based on what is needed, the first line of contact is with a pastor.

“I am not a licensed clinician but I can provide pastoral guidance. It could be spiritual, physical, material support, whatever support the family needs it is done a case-by-case basis, and I can make recommendations for anyone who may need clinical support.”

Juanae Crockwell, executive director for the Women’s Resource Centre (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Juanae Crockwell, the executive director for the Women’s Resource Centre, said that the charity offered free crisis counselling and grief support to women in Bermuda.

She said: “The Women’s Resource Centre extends our deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones directly impacted by the tragedy.

“You are in our thoughts and we want you to know that the Women’s Resource Centre is available to support you as you navigate this very challenging time.

“Trauma passes vicariously throughout the community. We encourage the entire community to take care of their mental health during this time. We want all women to know that they have a safe space to process and recover.

“Our counselling staff are trained in trauma response and grief and are available to provide that support as requested.”

Police have begun an investigation into the incident. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Chief Inspector Derricka Burns of the Serious Crime Unit at 717-0921 or by e-mail at dburns@bps.bm.

Information can also be provided through the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.