A local East Yorkshire resident is using her personal experiences to help influence key decisions, and support other local people who have been bereaved by suicide.
May (her name has been changed to protect her identity) sadly lost her son in 2016. He was 30 years old, and had taken his own life. He was described as being influenced greatly by his passion and love for music.
Since January 2019, May has supported the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership’s Suicide Prevention Programme, and is the Chair of their steering group. She uses her own personal experiences to help influence key decisions by working with local partners who support suicide prevention in the area, as well as ensuring that the right support services are in place to help support local people.
Over the last few years, May has also attended events such as Public Health Conferences, and spoken about her experiences at a suicide prevention event at the House of Commons. She is also involved with various initiatives with the Hull University, Oxford University and CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably.)
More recently in 2020, May supported the programme by been heavily involved in the design and launch of the Together Service – a service that supports local people who have been bereaved by suicide.
After working in roles such as bereavement and pastoral support, May now volunteers within the Together service, and helps support people who have had similar experiences to her, and whom have lost someone to suicide. This has helped May’s own journey and given her the opportunity to assist others in theirs.
When suicide touches someone, it changes their lives forever; you are not and never will be the same person you once were. Not only do you lose someone but you lose your very self. It takes time to become comfortable with the person you have become. It is not only families that are affected by this type of traumatic death, friends, colleagues, Blue Light services, etc. those who are all then become vulnerable.
I have had excellent support from all sorts of people, close family, friends, church and least of all, the magnificent people I have met through this work but that is not always available to everyone.
Working with the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership Suicide Prevention Steering Group, has enabled me to use the skill set I already had with the experience of being bereaved by suicide, to have an input into work that will reduce the numbers of people taking their own lives. The Together service is here to; help people build their resilience, to continue their journey and find the colours in their world again. I want it to be available to anyone who has a need for it, for as long as they need it. Hearts and minds affect by suicide require special care, having a service available for 1 to 1 support from someone who is not only trained but “gets it,” would have been invaluable to me. The grief doesn’t go away but those of us affected can experience joy again and this services aims to help along the way.
Jo Kent, Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership Suicide Prevention Lead said:
“We are really grateful for all of the support received from May over the last few years. Her input has been invaluable, and with her help, we have successfully launched a number of different services and iniatives that enable local people to get the right support at a time when they need it most. It is also empowering to see how May is using her own experiences to help other people going through similar situations, and to offer hope at a time that they need it most.”
The Together service is here to support local people who have been bereaved by suicide. The service, which has been funded by Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, offers free emotional and practical support to individuals of any age who have lost someone to suicide.
The service is available locally in Hull, East Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire, and is delivered by local mental health charities Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and North East Lincolnshire Mind.
Support can offer people with:
- talking with an experienced bereavement worker
- support creating memory boxes
- funeral planning
- attending inquests
- help with financial matters
If you would like more information, please call Hull and East Yorkshire Mind / North East Lincolnshire Mind on Freephone 0800 1380990, local number 01482 240133 (between 8am – 8pm 7 days a week) or email [email protected]. You can also text them on 07520633477.