Families and others who have been bereaved by suicide have used their experiences to lead the revision of a support guide – Help is at Hand – to help others affected by someone taking their own life.
Those bereaved by a suicide are at increased risk of mental health and emotional problems and may also have a higher risk for taking their own lives.
The most recent official figures reveal there were 6,233 suicides among those aged 15 and over in 2013.
Suicide is known to have far-reaching effects on friends, family, colleagues and the wider community.
Those affected personally by suicide worked alongside experts at Public Health England (PHE) and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) to write the guide.
The experts hope that in giving editorial control to individuals with experience of bereavement, the updated Help is at Hand will provide more relevant and personal guidance to others going through the same trauma of having lost a loved one, friend or colleague to suicide.
The revised guide was project managed by Amy Meadows, who 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 will be given out by bereavement support organisations – as well as those likely to be first on the scene after a suspected suicide, including police and ambulance staff.
The guide 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.
Community and Social Care Minister Alistair Burt MP said:
“For too long, speaking about suicide has been seen as taboo – making sure people can get the support they need is one of the reasons this guide is so important.
“Sometimes, just the reassurance that you’re not alone is so important – and it’s extremely brave of those who have been bereaved to help others in a similar situation by putting this guide together.
“I hope this is widely used by health professionals and others to help ensure that no one has to go through this incredibly difficult experience alone.”
Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors
Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors can advise mental health patients on issues such as detention under the Mental Health Act – and access to mental health services.
Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors regularly visit police stations and hospitals to advise on mental health law – and are available at short notice for appointments nationwide.
In some cases, Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors may be able to advise the nearest relative or carer of a mental health patient, including advising on access to NHS services and initiating treatment reviews, where appropriate.
For expert legal advice on mental health law, call the Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors Helpline on 0203 114 1124.