Help for families bereaved by suicide

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AHEAD of this year’s International Survivors of Suicide Day, Families’ Voices Forum and the Public Health Agency (PHA) held a joint event to look at what can be done to assist families bereaved by suicide across Northern Ireland and to enable bereaved individuals to come together to discuss their experiences.

Speaking ahead of the event, Families’ Voices Forum Chair Bobby Cosgrove, said: “The Families’ Voices Forum is an independent group of people who have been bereaved by suicide. People of all ages and every walk of life in Northern Ireland die by suicide and these deaths impact upon all of the community.

“This event is aimed at listening to those who have been bereaved by suicide, looking at what support is available, and discussing what role bereaved families can play in suicide prevention work.”

Michael Owen, Health Improvement Manager, PHA, added: “There has been increased recognition of the critical need to listen to the voices, needs, interests, and experiences of individuals, families and communities who have experienced the loss of a loved one through suicide.

“This is vital to the success of the ongoing work to prevent suicide and promote mental and emotional wellbeing. The PHA is dedicated to working in partnership to help prevent suicide and provide support for those who need it.”

Support services are in place and anyone who feels in distress or despair should call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 for immediate confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

People can also approach their local GP in complete confidence to discuss any concerns they may have about their mental or emotional wellbeing.