Butterflies Bereavement Support

Butterflies is a community organisation run by experienced volunteers and provides free bereavement care and support to local people who themselves have lost someone special. In addition to the wide ranging services that we offer people, we have a growing number of families coming to us who have experienced the loss of someone close through suicide. The number of younger people who are taking their own lives in both the local area and further across the county is rising significantly and there is a need for us to be more proactive in looking at ways of prevention of suicide as a positive approach to supporting those who are bereaved by suicide. We are committed to the national suicide prevention policy.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Butterflies Bereavement Support has already started to bring individuals who have experienced the loss of someone through suicide and some general practitioners. We will bring together a working group of professionals to be totally proactive in creating a local plan and increase awareness that support is available, where to seek help at the time of need and look at working closely with schools, colleges, and workplaces to look for the signs of suicidal thoughts and those who are at risk. As an organisation we are taking the lead and moving things forward in a positive way. We are also very much involved in PTSD with veterans and will continue to use out contacts here to grow our work.

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What are your current priorities?

Develop the Butterflies Suicide Prevention Group

The ideas that we have gathered from families, healthcare professionals and friends close to those what have been affected by suicide will be used to create a group that will not just be one that at prevention projects but allows a group of people who are struggling with life’s difficulties to come along to and get help, advice, support and counselling. The groups will also be based around our own Armed Forces Support Project, as we are in an area of high density armed forces bases and accommodation and there is a large number of PTSD deaths. Therefore we will also be working closely with the Ministry of Defence.

Finalise and publish the Butterflies Suicide Prevention Plan

We will be finalising the Butterflies Suicide Prevention Plan within the next six months and then we will create a consultation based on the content of the plan and the final plan will be adopted and published as a welcome and necessary resource. The plan will not sit on the shelf but will be a living document, something that will be used to generate ongoing groups, support networks and raising awareness of the need to be proactive – and for the whole community to own the Suicide Prevention Plan.

Work with the Coroner to get better local data and use this for furthering our work

We will be working with the Coroners Office and Medical Examiners to establish all the required data to fulfill both the final plan, but also to establish the areas of greater need in supporting families and where the logistics are for the higher levels of suicide.

We will also ask for information on the cause of the suicide and background information if available to build a picture for the future.

Increased support for people bereaved by suicide

We will be developing more support for those who are bereaved following suicide. This will be the free one-to-one counselling sessions for individuals who are affected by suicide so that they can find a way forward carrying the memory of their loved one with them and also being able to search for answers.

We will be holding support groups that are specific to suicide for those who want to share experiences and learn from others who have experienced suicide.

We will be providing opportunities for interaction and support for friends, so that they can grasp the issues surrounding the loss of a friend and gain collective support both in person and through an app.

Making training and support available to the wider community

We want to raise awareness in the workplace, in schools, the community, and in military establishments so that together we must be willing to undertake training and support so that we can prevent suicides for all ages.

We want to educate the community so suicides can be prevented and that help is available for those who feel that death is the only solution when problems become too much.

We want greater access and awareness of support services, helpline and apps, in as many places as possible, so it’s a community information and resource point, rather than people having to search pages and pages of directories to get the help at the time of need.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

The current challenges that we are facing is bringing more people on board to be proactive in our work and to work with others to create a prevention and support project that is needs led, vision driven.

To secure both short and longer term funding to ensure we continue to be effective and implement our policy.

Gaining effective information and numbers of suicides from the coroners court locally and persuading them to give leaflets to families so they know help is available.

Getting past the initial meetings with schools and colleges and enabling a better understanding of the signs and to arrange training for staff members so that they know what signs to look for.

Raising the profile of both suicide prevention and suicide support within the local and wider community, so everyone knows that there is an effective project for the community and that they can engage with it.

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