Help at hand for families bereaved by suicide

Suicided bereavement.
As Midlands Living Links is a support service for families and friends who have been bereaved by the death of a loved one to suicide.

As Midlands Living Links is a support service for families and friends who have been bereaved by the death of a loved one to suicide.

As most people are aware, suicide does not respect boundaries, social or economic status, religion, IQ, race, gender or age. Warning signs are rarely given before the tragedy occurs, leaving families, friends and workmates shocked and communities stunned. The client group for Living Links is all those bereaved by suicide within the counties of Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath. A listening and support service is provided to individuals, families, work colleagues, groups, etc. on request. The service is provided on a one-to-one basis or in group settings and in the homes of clients or in mutually agreed centres, i.e. HSE Community Mental Centres and Parish Centres. Support workers aim to minimise the distress felt by those bereaved by suicide and provide a listening ear which ensures that bereaved persons do not feel isolated or vulnerable.

Facilitators attend at Coroners Courts in Laois and Offaly. The sole role of Living Links in the Inquest process is a human one and our aim is to help make the Inquest as smooth flowing as possible for the bereaved. The inclusion of our service in the Inquest Model is reducing unnecessary anguish for families following a death by suicide (often without their realisation) and helping to create an inquest model that attempts to support and reduce the trauma the Inquest experience has on those bereaved by suicide.

Coffee mornings are organised on an ongoing basis. The bereaved by suicide may benefit from coming to a coffee morning as this would allow people who may not know of the service to drop in for a casual cup of tea and a chat,’ meet, greet and befriend idea’.

Group support is also provided for those who have had the experience of losing a loved one to suicide and would like to connect with others who have gone through the same experience. Suicide Bereavement Support Groups offer the opportunity to share experiences and support each other and follow the steps of a structured programme. The programme is designed to meet the needs of individuals, family and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide and achieve a positive result in the groups recovering sufficiently, emotionally and psychologically from their loss.

A Family Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service is soon to be established. This service will be available across the counties of Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath to families bereaved by suicide and will offer early support, information and signposting to other relevant services and will provide a co-ordinated and supportive response to families and communities following a death by suicide. A Steering Group will oversee the ongoing development and implementation of the project.

As part of Laois CONNECTS week, Midlands Living Links will host a Coffee Morning in the Parish Centre after the 12.30pm Mass on Sunday 12 October. Facilitators will be available to talk to those who may wish to learn more about the service or to receive support and a listening ear.

For more information on the Service, or to get a copy of our new Support Booklet ‘Reaching out with Hope’, please contact Bernie Carroll, Co-Ordinator, on 086 1600641 or www.livinglinks.ie