Specialist counselling for people bereaved by suicide

Mick Ferris

Families affected by the death of a loved one who has taken their own life will be offered referrals for specialist counselling, thanks to a new arrangement between Essex Police and Essex County Council.

Police officers who attend an incident where it is suspected someone has taken their own life will ask next of kin if they want to be referred to a specialist bereavement service.

Tracey Allen, of the force’s Mental Health Team, says that a person is 30 per cent more likely to attempt to take their own life if they have been affected by suicide.

“As a force, we’re here to help people and keep them safe,” she says.

“Our officers understand the Mental Health Act and how to manage people in crisis, who are at serious risk of causing harm to themselves or others, and to ensure they get professional help from the right health care professionals.

“Now we are working with partner agencies to help families affected by the death of a loved one who has taken their own life.

“Our officers are often the initial responders at such incidents and will be speaking to the next of kin so, if the offer is taken up, we will be making the referrals.

“However, anyone affected by suicide, including witnesses, friends and work colleagues, can also seek this specialist support by referring themselves.”

If a close family member doesn’t initially accept the offer, they will get another opportunity during the inquest process.

Essex has seen a significant drop in the number of people suspected of taking their own lives this year but Tracey and her team want to reduce this still further.

“This new service aims to give people who have experienced the bereavement by suicide of someone close to them the support they will so desperately need,” says Tracey.

Essex Wellbeing Service will refer people who take up the opportunity for counselling to one of three organisations, depending on where they live:

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the country but suicides among teenage girls and young women are rising.

If anything in this news story has affected you, here are some organisations which can help you:

Mental health

Suicide prevention charities

Specialist support for men

Suicide awareness training

Mid and South Essex NHS Integrated Care Board also provides online suicide awareness training which will help you to identify the signs of when someone might be having suicidal thoughts and to feel comfortable speaking about suicide in a supportive manner: https://letstalkaboutsuicideessex.co.uk


Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk