We exist to meet the needs and overcome the isolation experienced by people over 18 who have been bereaved by suicide.
Only those of us who have experienced this terrible tragedy can truly understand, none of us need to suffer alone together we can help each other.
We were founded in 1991 by Alice Middleton MBE, who is now our founding patron. Following the death of her brother and finding little support available, she placed an advert in her local paper seeking to make contact with others who had been bereaved by suicide. She started the first support group from her living room in Hull.
We have grown to become the only national charity providing dedicated support to adults who have been bereaved by suicide. We currently have around 150 volunteers across the UK who help to run our services – and we continue to grow. Our volunteers come from all walks of life but nearly all have been touched by suicide themselves, this experience enables them to connect with others.
We have a small national support team in our office in Ilkeston, Derbyshire who provide support to our volunteers and who manage our operations. Our team of trustees meet regularly, providing leadership and governance to our charity. Our ambassadors work to raise our profile and bring support to our organisation.
Each year in the UK, more than 6000 people take their own life – each suicide has a devastating and lasting impact on their families, friends and communities.
Faced with a sudden, often unexpected and sometimes violent death, the bereaved experience a complex grief which typically includes strong feelings of guilt, self-reproach and questioning – “why?”. Discomfort, shame and stigma associated with suicide can make it difficult to talk about. There may be further complexities not common to normal bereavements e.g. inquests, media coverage, trauma reactions and difficult family relationships.
Those bereaved by suicide often feel isolated at a time when they are hurting, suffering mental anguish and are vulnerable themselves to thoughts of suicide. Even those fortunate enough to have strong support networks can still feel alone, unable to share their true feelings for fear of their impact on others, particularly when they are also in a caring role for others who are bereaved.
There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who have been deeply affected by suicide. The emotional, quality of life and financial impacts are long lasting and wide reaching. It is a major public health issue.
We exist to meet the needs and break the isolation experienced by those bereaved by suicide. We are a self-help organisation and we aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other. We also strive to improve public awareness and maintain contacts with many other statutory and voluntary organisations.