Extended Suicide Bereavement Support Service Launched Today

World Suicide Prevention Day (Tuesday 10 September) is being marked today by the launch of an improved and extended Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service funded by Somerset County Council.

Somerset is one of just a handful of places in the country to have had a service since 2012, and it is now being expanded to help more people when they really need support.

Supporting people affected by suicide is an essential part of suicide prevention. When someone dies by suicide, the shock is profound and widely felt by families, but also by friends, colleagues and professionals.

They describe profound distress, guilt, searching for explanations and stigma. They may struggle with work or relationships. They may develop their own mental health problems. They may themselves feel suicidal.

The new service offers one-to-one emotional and practical support immediately following the bereavement and can also help people through future issues as they arise.

Other support includes facilitated peer support groups, specialist suicide bereavement counselling, drop-in to four monthly local suicide bereavement surgeries across Somerset, support and advice to professionals, telephone support with the option to go through to the Samaritans if no one is available to answer the call and co-ordination of a Bereavement Network of statutory and voluntary sector organisations who offer a range of bereavement support services.

Cllr Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “Today – and every day – we want to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. There are so many ways in which services, communities, individuals and society as a whole can help to prevent suicides and the devastating impact on individuals and their families. This includes raising awareness about the issue, educating ourselves and others about the causes of suicide and questioning the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health issues.”

Dr Andrew Tresidder, GP Safety Lead for NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The tragedy of a completed suicide may happen in the context of mental illness, and also in the context of a catastrophic loss of hope. Helping prevent suicide is everybody’s business, to ensure that people have hope in life. You may never know that your smile or kind word has given someone the hope to live at a time of desperation – and that you have prevented a serious outcome.

“A tragic death affects scores of people, and cuts short a life of promise – so it is up to us all to build hope, emotional resilience and well-being in society. Kindness and respect are powerful medicine – and to inspire someone with hope is even more powerful.”

For more information about the Somerset Suicide Bereavement Service, click on https://www.mindinsomerset.org.uk/our-services/adult-one-to-one-support/somerset-suicide-bereavement-support-service/

Please contact the Samaritans if you have been affected by the content of this article. Volunteers are on hand who are ordinary people who provide a safe place for people to talk. Tel: 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or click on www.samaritans.org


For more information, please contact the press office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk.


***MEDIA GUIDANCE – For information and guidance on how to report about suicide, please check out https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/media-guidelines/ ***

Last year the service saw over one hundred clients ranging from 14 years to over seventy.

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), on 10 September, is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).

Somerset has a multi-agency Suicide Prevention Partnership Board to collectively work together to prevent suicides. It is fully committed to reducing the incidence of suicide and supporting people to get the help they need. The Suicide Prevention Partnership is responsible for leading the co-ordination and supporting delivery across statutory and voluntary organisations. Across the system, a few highlights this year include:

  • Planned investment by CCG in mental health services so more people can get the help they need when they need it
  • Building a new men and mental health campaign starting with a reaching men through sport initiatives. Establishing wellbeing champions in sports club
  • Providing suicide prevention skills training to staff working directly with individuals
  • Continue to monitor and assess suspected suicides to help understand patterns and themes.

Adult Peer Support Groups take place in Taunton (first Thursday of the month) and Bridgwater (third Thursday). The groups provide a safe and confidential space for anyone to attend who has been bereaved by suicide. Next meetings will take place at:


Thursday 5TH September Thursday 19th September
Taunton Bridgwater
7.30-9.30pm 7.30-9.30pm
Mind in Somerset

Sussex Lodge

44 Station Road



The Snug

7 East Quay




Parking available in Belvedere Road car park TA1 1BS. The best free car park is a 2 minute walk away and it’s free after 6, it’s by the job centre at TA6 3HG. Also you can park in Asda but only for 2 hours.
Facilitated by: Susan Hoyle Facilitated by: Sam Carr

The groups have experienced facilitators but manages themselves.

Call 01823 334906 if you would like to talk to someone before attending.

The group is part of the Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service, which is available to anyone in Somerset.

T: 0300 330 5463 Helpline     E: bereaved@mindtws.org.uk     

W: https://suicidebereavement.wixsite.com/somerset


The surgery provides a safe and confidential space for anyone to attend who has been bereaved by suicide.


Location Yeovil
Date & Time Monday 16th September

1300hrs to 1800hrs

Address Samaritans

25 The Park


BA20 1DG

Services Available ·         Welcomer – who will welcome everyone and establish what help or support they need.

·         Signposter – who will provide information on other services in the area which help support suicide prevention.

·         Information about suicide bereavement.

·         Information about suicide prevention.

·         Suicide Bereavement Peer Group.

·         Suicide Bereavement 1-2-1 Support (please contact us in advance to book a session)

Staff Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service staff