People who have lost someone close to them due to suicide will benefit from dedicated bereavement care. The government has announced plans to roll out services on the NHS across England.

The plans mean anyone affected by a family member or friend taking their own life will have access to practical and emotional support in the days and months following their death.

Ten areas are will benefit from the £1,082,000 fund, with support ranging from one-to-one sessions with trained volunteers or counsellors, group support, or signposting to specialist mental health services.

The 10 areas receiving funding are:

  • North Cumbria – £256,000
  • Derbyshire – £71,000
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate – £173,000
  • Nottinghamshire – £63,000
  • Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – £64,000
  • North Central London – £87,000
  • North West London – £113,000
  • South West London – £69,000
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire West – £98,000
  • Devon – £88,000

Statistics show that 9% of people affected by suicide will also attempt to take their own life and 8% will drop out of work.

The tailored help will be implemented in every region across the country by 2023 to 2024, as part of a commitment set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The type of support on offer will vary from region to region so it links in with existing local services.

In South West London, a designated suicide bereavement liaison officer, to be hosted by Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster Mind, will be created. The liaison officer will receive referrals for support from police and health care professionals and will proactively contact the bereaved to offer one-to-one support.

In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, a single point of access for those in need will be created to grant people a quicker, streamlined route to vital care.

This will sit alongside one-to-one sessions and group support, support with coroners, signposting, peer-led groups and memorial events, and training for organisations and employers on how to support their workforce if they have been bereaved by suicide.

National mental health spend reached £12.5 billion last year with the NHS Long Term Plan committing an extra £2.3 billion every year over the next 5 years to transform mental health care.

DHSC is working with partners across government, businesses and communities to reduce the national suicide rate. Every area of the country will receive funding for suicide prevention and bereavement services, by 2023 to 2024, from the total pot of money of £57 million allocated through the Long Term Plan.

Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Nadine Dorries said:

When a loved one takes their own life, those left behind can suffer indescribable pain and grief – something I have experienced first-hand.

Every suicide is a tragedy, which is why I am determined to tackle its root causes. But it is also important to support those coming to terms with a loss, ensuring they have access to the right types of sensitive support.

This funding is part of our wider commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to implement designated suicide bereavement care – making a real difference to people’s lives.

Claire Murdoch, NHS national director for mental health, said:

Suicide is a tragedy for both the person and their family and friends – with lives devastated as a result.

These new post-crisis bereavement services will be a lifeline for families and staff who are at heightened risk themselves of experiencing mental health problems.

Published on 12 Nov, 2019 (updated 27 Mar, 2020)

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