Suicide Bereavement Support (SBS) aims to support local people by using local resources whilst continuing to work in partnership with national colleague and local agencies
The organisation will cover Cumbria, south Scotland and north Lancashire.
SBS has been created from the former Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) group.
John Brown is the Chair of the new organisation and was the founder of the SOBS group said: “We will continue to operate using the same self-help principle as we have for the past nine years. We will still provide the groups in Kendal, Whitehaven and Carlisle, as we do now. The Facebook presence, both the open page and closed group, will continue to function, as will our Twitter account.
“We [the SBS steering group] believe that independent operation will allow us to develop a stronger, more flexible response to the tragic loss of life by local people to suicide. We can pursue local projects to meet community needs identified during our nine years of experience in the area.”
Because the new organisation will be free from the constraints of a national organisation SBS hope to be able to expand their goals and activities. Some of these may include for example prevention (people who have been bereaved by suicide can be at risk of taking their own lives), ensuring people are able to access appropriate counselling, campaigning and research.
John added: “Importantly, we will be able to spend money raised in the region in response to the local need, whilst being held directly accountable for how money is spent. We remain open to working in partnership with national, regional and local groups in the future to best serve those who have been touched by suicide in our locality.”
Colin Cox, Director of Public Health at Cumbria County Council, said: “I very much welcome the establishment of Suicide Bereavement Support. Cumbria has a higher rate of suicide than the national average, and every death by suicide has a huge impact on family, friends and the wider community.
“The work that the group has done in the past as SOBS has been invaluable in supporting many people who have been bereaved, and setting themselves up as an independent group will mean that they will be able to support people in new ways that will be even more tailored to local circumstances and needs.
“The volunteers are experts through personal experience and I know that as the group develops further they will continue to be an important part of the Cumbrian approach to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it.”
If there is anything you would like to discuss or clarify, please feel free to call the Chair of the organisation John Brown on 07961 968 993.
Please also see their website for further information at www.sbs.org.uk