Sunflowers Suicide Support
Sunflowers is a charity set up in memory of Pete Morris who died by suicide in 2016. We have two aims:
1. To raise suicide prevention awareness through campaigns such as our I Am Listening campaign and by delivering ASIST to the wider community.
2. To support families living in Gloucestershire who are bereaved by suicide.
We are part of the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum which works to make Gloucestershire a suicide safer community.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
We provide accredited training in suicide intervention to the wider community to help increase the knowledge and skills in working alongside someone who may be having thoughts of suicide. Where we can, we offer this free of charge to the participants attending. We regularly run campaigns online through our social media accounts and have stands at local community events to raise awareness and get people talking about suicide. Our most recent was Chase the Sun where 145 people ran 10k to raise awareness. We deliver talks about the charity and our story to raise awareness. We are part of the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum where we work with other organisations to raise awareness in conjunction with the Government Suicide Prevention Strategy and local needs. We also have a good relationship with our local mental health trust and our Founder has been appointed an Expert by Experience on their panel to encourage good practice. We have worked with Public Health to put together support packs which we now offer families bereaved by suicide. We also deliver Grief Recovery courses to those bereaved as well as running events to bring families together in a relaxed and supportive environment, so they know they are not alone. We are currently working with a Counselling Psychologist to set up a local support group for families bereaved by suicide.
What are your current priorities?
Delivering Suicide intervention and prevention training
We have ensured we have enough funds in place to deliver at least three ASIST workshops over the next 12 months. This will increase knowledge and ensure at least 42 further members of our community have skills in suicide intervention. We are also hoping to deliver presentations about the charity to raise awareness of the training we offer. Longer term we would like to look into training someone within the charity to deliver SafeTalk to enable us to reach even more people and we will also be looking into what can be offered to schools to ensure that both teachers and students have better information and knowledge about suicide prevention. This is something that will hopefully coincide with the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum which we are part of.
Offering support groups to those bereaved by suicide
We have ensured that we have funds in place for three further Grief Recovery Courses to families bereaved by suicide over the next 12 months, we will be working to try and secure longer-term funding for this as is in place within other Counties where this course has been very successful. We are already speaking with the management and publicity team at Grief Recovery Method about how best to do this. We are also sending out information to local schools about the ‘Helping Children Deal with Loss’ course which we hope schools will sign up to. We are also setting up a support group which will be coordinated by a professional Counselling Psychologist. This will also have input from the individuals that attend regarding content. Part of our ethos is to ensure people know they are not alone and also to enable them to be involved if they wish into the support we offer. We feel it is extremely important that others have a say on what they feel will be most useful and helpful to them as everyone grieves in different ways. We hope this will ensure that many needs are met. Some of the areas we hope to address are anxiety and trauma and we would like to introduce some mindfulness and relaxation techniques. This support group will be in place by October 2018.
Improve the support given to those immediately bereaved and throughout the inquest
We have already been speaking with Public Health about some ways we feel improvements can be made. We have introduced our SOS Packs which include a Help is at Hand booklet along with other leaflets where support is available. We are keen to meet with the Coroner to ensure these are given out. Over the next 12 months we are looking to develop a ‘Suicide Liaison’ role or a possible ‘befriender’ role. This is subject to funds, but we are looking into possible grants available. As part of this we also want to develop a small inquest pack and have been in touch with Red Lipstick Foundation about what they provide. Longer term aim would be to have information on legal support and representation available to those who have more complex inquests.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Currently everything we offer is self-funded, so we must run lots of fundraising events to ensure we can continue to pay to deliver our services.
As we do not have our own premises, we have to ensure that we can find suitable venues to hold our training and deliver our support groups which is quite time consuming and costly.