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New support guide for Islanders bereaved by suicide

09 September 2016

A new guide for Islanders who have lost a loved one to suicide has been issued as part of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2016). 

‘Help is at Hand’ aims to help those affected by someone taking their own life. The guide was originally developed in the UK by people who had been bereaved by suicide with support from Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. It's now been revised to include information relevant to Jersey.

Those bereaved by suicide are at increased risk of mental health and emotional problems and may be at higher risk of suicide themselves, so making sure that people in this situation receive the right support is a key component of an effective suicide prevention framework.

Jersey’s Prevention of Suicide Framework for Action was launched in November 2015. Martin Knight, Head of Health Improvement and Chair of the Prevention of Suicide Steering Group said “When somebody takes their own life, it is devastating on many different levels: not just an individual tragedy and a life-altering event for those bereaved, but also traumatic for involved communities and services. These impacts are felt immediately and can be profoundly distressing as well as long-lasting.”

The steering group’s work to date to support the prevention of suicide includes:

  • online communications on mental health to parents and students
  • the development of a multi-agency crisis response plan
  • a revised and up-dated training programme, commissioned with local and multi-agency trainers to deliver a programme to front-line staff

It is essential that anyone bereaved by suicide receives help and support. Professionals, including the police, coroners, GPs, social workers and Health and Social Services staff play a vital role in providing this support. This new guide will be of additional help in ensuring people get the emotional and practical support they need at a very difficult time.

Martin Knight added “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. Dealing with suicide of a loved one is a traumatic experience for anyone and dealing with the consequences of a suicide can be an isolating experience, with people feeling uncomfortable talking about it.

“Sometimes just the reassurance that you’re not alone is so important. I hope this guide is widely used by health professionals and others to help ensure that no one has to go through this incredibly difficult experience alone.”

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