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Mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland reflects on suicide bereavement pilot service which launched on Suicide Prevention Day last year

By Federica Stefani

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The SBS team formed by Sheila Houston, Annie Lawson, Lara Van de Peer and Annalie MacKenzie.
The SBS team formed by Sheila Houston, Annie Lawson, Lara Van de Peer and Annalie MacKenzie.

A MENTAL health charity who launched a service supporting people bereaved by suicide and delivered in the Highlands said the scheme was very successful in its first year running.

Support in Mind Scotland started offering a Suicide Bereavement Service last year, with the scheme starting on World Suicide prevention Day.

The charity has announced it has supported over a hundred people on its one-year anniversary ahead of Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, September 10, with "compassionate delivery and accessible support".

The service supports individuals through a person and family-centred approach and offers practical and compassionate emotional support to those bereaved by suicide and can signpost to other forms of support where appropriate.

Lara Van de Peer, Project Manager for the Suicide Bereavement Service at Support in Mind Scotland, said: “We’re able to offer the type of support that is not available from anywhere else and at the time that’s right for those seeking it. Uniquely, we are able to support people immediately after a suicide to help navigate the hugely complex emotions encountered.

"We know that every person coming into the service has a different story and we are constantly listening to feedback, gaining knowledge and understanding to develop new resources. But that normalisation of complex and difficult feelings is so important and reassuring for people accessing the service.

"We are delighted that our first year of delivery has proved so successful in providing compassionate and person-centred support. Building trust, listening more than talking and providing the right words at the right time is crucial in our aim to help people during this hardest of time.”

The pilot is a Scottish Government initiative which has been set up as part of their current Suicide Prevention Action Plan. It is estimated that one in ten people who lose a loved one to suicide may make an attempt on their own life, so providing this service can help in the wider aim of suicide prevention.

Suicide Bereavement Service said they realise that "different, uniquely complex and deeply personal with referrals coming from a variety of sources."

People accessing help will receive a call within 24 hours and the initial contact provides reassurance that the service is there for them and the feelings of pain, guilt, anger and everything else are normal.

A further call is scheduled within seven days of initial contact and emotional support is there for as long as it is needed.

To learn more about the service visit supportinmindscotland.org.uk.

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