The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health Care Partnership, now ICS has been working collectively across a number of organisations and in consultation with public health leads to deliver specific suicide bereavement support services across the region.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is the appointed lead for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Prevention Strategy and works collaboratively with other NHS care providers, local authorities, local Clinical Commissioning groups, prison partners, emergency services partners and voluntary community partners in the design of regional services for suicide prevention.
Who did you consult with and what did you ask?
The Suicide Prevention Project Manager ran a scoping exercise and consulted with multiple local authority leads for suicide prevention, partner organisations delivering NHS care, individuals affected by suicidal thoughts and actions and families who have been bereaved through suicide. Input in the form of proposals for services, either new or already successfully established was also requested.
Explain who the stakeholders were
The Trust engaged with a number of bereaved families and third sector partners across WYICS area including some service user/carer groups in Calderdale/Kirklees. We asked the following questions:
- What is a suicide specific bereavement support service?
- What support have people experienced across the region? What worked and what was missing?
- What are the present models for postvention in place nationally and what can we learn from them?
- How do we make any service accessible to all?
What did they tell you?
Each person who provided input to the review process had a unique experience of their own loss and their own thoughts about what had worked well for them.
This varied into knowing that some people would not access a group but would respond better to one to ones. People told us:
- Some people live in rural communities and would need help to access a group or would not be able to commit to travel to a group so would need to have support in their own homes.
- Some people work better creatively and being made aware of and having access to creative options for expression of loss was important.
- Experience of those directly and recently affected by suicide spoke of having a link person, a family liaison worker who would guide them on some practical elements of what they as a family need to consider.
- Knowing where to go to get counselling, being able to easily access counselling and not being made to wait several months before being able to get the support needed.
- People wanted a model of post-intervention delivery that represented their local communities, that was reflective of the local people
- People expressed concern that a city centre model would not work well in rural communities
- People wanted something bespoke that was grown out of the connections in their local areas already established.
- For Information leaflets or a go to place where guidance was easy – ensuring that information on what to do in the event of death was shared –
- That GPs also advised families/friends and significant others on bereavement support services. A clearly visible and identifiable service accessible to all.
What did you do?
Based on the feedback West Yorkshire and Harrogate ICS launched a suicide bereavement support service on the 4th of December 2019. This service is commissioned to be delivered by Leeds Mind.
To date there are additional post- vention practitioners recruited to deliver Suicide bereavement support across the areas of Calderdale and Kirklees, Wakefield, Bradford, Harrogate and Craven these are in addition to the already established services for the Leeds area.
The service is in the first quarter of its delivery and the practitioners have established connections within the local community hubs. There is further development work that will take place as the service grows visibility and increases its presence across all organisations and grows connection to real time awareness of deaths in our local communities.
Each practitioner across the region is continuing to build connections to our communities and ensure visibility, accessibility and support is available. This is particularly important for prevention of future deaths through suicide and to reach all families who may be affected by suicide where there has been no contact with primary care services or secondary care services.
Where can you find more information about this work?
Lin Harrison, WY&H ICS Suicide Prevention Project Manager is available at firstname.lastname@example.org
Engagement location: West Yorkshire
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