Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service (part of Mind in Somerset)

The Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service is a project within Mind in Somerset, and is delivered countywide on behalf of Public Health Somerset. We work in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Support who provide 1:1 bereavement support, and the local Samaritans who offer a listening ear.

The service offers a 24/7 helpline, a peer support group, a young people’s peer support group for ages 14yrs +, a lived experience “Bereavement Buddy” system, alongside practical and emotional support, and linking into wider support available both locally and nationally.

We also run a Focus Group working with individuals with lived experience with the aim of providing feedback, insight and recommendations to the Suicide Prevention Partnership Board (SuPPa).

Additionally, we are part of the Suicide Audit Group, providing qualitative insight to assist in the identification of risk of contagion and/or trends.

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

We sit on the Suicide Prevention Partnership Board (SuPPa) in Somerset, we feed into and support the county’s plan. We deliver the Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service, commissioned as a preventative service. We offer a 24/7 suicide bereavement helpline in addition to the Mind in Somerset out of hours helpline, Mindline that supports people to talk and have a listening ear.

We are part of the Suicide Audit Group, providing qualitative insight to assist in the identification of risk of contagion and/or trends.

We actively seek out opportunities to raise awareness in a number of ways, from presenting to local employment groups to organising community events for World Suicide Prevention Day.

We also monitor media reporting of suicides to encourage responsible reporting.

We organise a countywide Bereavement Network Meeting, to enable relevant agencies to build closer working relationships and co-develop strategies to improve services offered when there has been a bereavement. We aim to implement community interventions which will provide the SSBSS more opportunity to talk directly to the public. Mind in Somerset offers Mental First Aid Training and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.

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What are your current priorities?

Having recently launched our Young People’s Peer Support Group, we are looking to provide support for Children less than 14 years of age.

We are also looking to initiate Community Interventions where there has been a sudden death in the community. This will enable us to reach out to anyone who may be deeply affected by the death and at risk of developing suicidal thoughts. We will continue to campaign and contact the media when we locally spot poor reporting. We are working with Public Health on delivering training to partner organisations to improve their knowledge of support, guidance and information.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Resources to provide all the support that we would like to provide. Ensuring that all agencies in the community know where to access support and information, and are confident in holding support while they seek other support for people they are working with.

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