Help is at Hand provides people affected by suicide with both emotional and practical support. The most recent official figures reveal 6,233 suicides of people aged 15 and over were registered in the UK in 2013 and suicide has far-reaching effects among friends, family, colleagues, and the wider community. Those bereaved by a suicide are at increased risk of mental health and emotional problems and may be at higher risk of suicide themselves, so receiving the right support is essential.
For the first time individuals who have been bereaved by suicide have been the principal authors of the guide, with support from experts at Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. Cruse Bereavement Care is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, and we recently launched our own Facing the Future project to help people bereaved by suicide, in association with the Samaritans.
Amy Meadows, who project managed the revised guide said: “I lost my mum to suicide six years ago and at the time my family didn’t get any information to explain what to expect or advice about where to turn for help. That’s why I want to make sure that other people don’t feel isolated and alone like we did.”
“Everyone’s grief is unique, but people do not have to tackle the journey by themselves. I hope that by reading about others’ experiences in ‘Help is at Hand’ and seeing the specialist support that is available, newly bereaved people will get some comfort and reassurance that they are not alone, that they should talk about what has happened and that there is support available when they need it.”
The guide is designed to be given out by bereavement support organisations and by those who are likely to be first on the scene after a suspected suicide, including police and ambulance staff. It will also be widely promoted online through partnerships with coroners, funeral directors, police, doctors and bereavement counselling and support organisations.
The redevelopment of the guide follows a cross-governmental strategy that called on a wide range of groups to work together to achieve a reduction in the suicide rate in England and to better support those bereaved or affected by suicide. Help is at Hand is part of a range of bereavement support materials available on www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk.
Help is at Hand was launched at Manchester Suicide Bereavement Conference at the University of Manchester on Thursday 24 September.