At The Spark we relish opportunities to get involved in community-based initiatives. A great example is our involvement in the North West Glasgow Suicide Prevention forum and it’s ‘Suicide Safer Communities’ project.
As a social enterprise, we are always looking for ways to help the communities we are based in. Through them we can offer our expertise in counselling, relationships and family support to a wider audience. This particular initiative is relatively new – created in 2016 – but is already making a positive impact in the north-west of Scotland’s biggest city.
Tackling Scotland’s high rate of suicide
Suicide in Scotland continues to be a significant problem. Despite progress being made statistics indicate over 650 people in Scotland take their own lives each year. A percentage of those do so due to issues like relationship problems or family breakdown. As a counselling charity with a focus on relationships and family breakdown, this project is one close to our hearts.
The forum is led by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and works in partnership with multiple agencies including SAMH, GAMH, Glasgow City Council, Lifelink, ChildLine, Young Scot and Drink Wise Age Well. Our overarching objective is to contribute to the reduction in suicide rates in the north-west of the city which is a key objective of the Scottish Government’s mental health strategy.
Agencies working together
The Suicide Safer Communities initiative seeks to reduce suicide rates but also deal with the wider community impact of death by suicide.
The Spark has recently facilitated a sub group examining bereavement support for those affected by suicide. Talking directly to individuals affected by suicide – the parents, siblings and partners of victims – the group obtained a clear overview of current support services. These are the people left with great feelings of loss, pain and difficult unanswered questions.
The right information, at the right time and through the right people
The review focused on what those individuals felt was missing from their own experience. Looking specifically at what types of support might have helped them through such a difficult experience.
An overarching need to provide the right communication, at the right time and through the right people emerged. In many cases first responders to a death by suicide were unable to provide suitable support. Furthermore follow-up services in the community to help the bereaved were disjointed.
The group’s recommendations have been taken forward to the main prevention planning group led by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Glasgow City Council. Implementation of those recommendations could help individuals and families in Glasgow whose lives have been blighted by suicide.
Collaboration is the key to community mental health support
Projects like Suicide Safer Communities are essential to the delivery of improved mental health services in Scotland. GPs, the National Health Service, social care, local authorities and third sector charities cannot tackle Scotland’s mental health problems individually. Only through partnerships utilising the knowledge, skills and experience of multiple agencies can we make great strides in creating a healthier and happier Scotland.
Experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings?
If you are experiencing or have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings, please telephone 999 or go to your nearest A&E hospital. Support is also available from the following organisations:
Samaritans offer a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123.
Papyrus is a dedicated service for young people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, you can text 07786 209697.
NHS Choices: 24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information. Call them free on 111.
C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any issues they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58.
Affected by suicide?
If you have recently been affected by suicide you can receive specialist support from the following organisations:
Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland – National Helpline: 0845 600 2227 (calls charged at 5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide – National Helpline: 0300 111 5065.
For immediate support and someone to talk to contact Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.