An updated national guide for those experiencing bereavement through the death by suicide of a loved one has been produced by people who have lived through the traumatic experience.
Called Help is at Hand, the support guide provides people affected by suicide with both emotional and practical help.
The number of people dying by suicide each year in North Yorkshire, like the country as a whole, has been increasing gradually in recent years. 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.
Councillor David Chance, executive member for Stronger Communities and Public Health said:
Suicide devastates the lives of individuals, families and communities. It is a problem across the UK as well as in North Yorkshire, where on average some 50 to 60 individuals take their lives each year.
For the first time, individuals who have been bereaved by suicide have been the principal authors of this guide, with support from experts at Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. By giving control of the content to individuals with experience of bereavement the updated Help is at Hand will provide more relevant and personal guidance to others in this traumatic situation in North Yorkshire.
Amy Meadows, who project managed the revised guide and experienced suicide bereavement herself, said:
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 national 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