We know that in the immediate aftermath of a suicide, most people who are directly affected/involved will be experiencing a traumatic response to their loss. This will include many of the following:
Unable to hear or retain information
Overwhelm and confusion
Physical trauma reactions: Headaches, aches and pains, foggy brain, stomach or digestive conditions, breathing difficulties, anxiety, panic attacks, dissociation (disconnect from reality), tiredness, unable to sleep, hypervigilance, extremes in emotional responses.ARVE Error: src mismatch
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Our Initial Phone Call
In the initial phone call, the purpose is to gently introduce the project and the support that is available if/when they would like it.
We keep communication very simple, calm and to the point.
Offering space to talk/listen but not asking questions
We won’t be seeking information or overloading with information about what we do
We will be Offering bite size pieces of information and reassurance we will make sure they have our contact details after the call
We will acknowledge the loss experienced, responses and feelings, and beginning to help gently understand they may be experiencing a trauma response if this is present.
We will ask about who else is in the network of support and available for immediate support
We will agree what we will do after the call in follow up, this could be to leave an email with resources or to find a time where we can continue our conversation
We know that it may be sometime before someone is ready or in need of therapeutic counselling after any bereavement. However, our experience and research suggests that early intervention, with specialist support workers who understand suicide loss, can be extremely helpful and can contribute to someone’s better long term wellbeing.
The early support sessions provide a space to begin to explore and share emotional responses, thoughts and feelings in a safe, impartial and contained space.
Our purpose is not to solve or fix, or try to make better but to sit alongside in the pain and for them to know they are safe and held. This in turn creates a nurturing and supportive environment, and trust to begin to navigate the journey through the early days after their loss.
It is in these sessions that we can support someone to not develop a negative narrative of guilt and self blame, by gently exploring and helping to unpick and hopefully reframe some of their internal negative dialogue.
We can offer 3 months of bespoke support for someone and together work out what that may look like. Often this will involve a mixture of phone calls/texts and face to face support sessions.
These sessions are not counselling but we may use many counselling skills. For example, empathic listening, holding and containing overwhelming and painful emotions, helping them tell their grief story, sometimes the details of the suicide and this may be the first time they have shared this. Identifying complexities around their loss, and exploring areas where they feel stuck in their grief/trauma.
We will ask if they have their own suicidal feelings as we know these can be more present when someone is bereaved through suicide, especially Mothers of children.
We may support around managing physical manifestations of the trauma and grief through breathing exercises, mindfulness or other tools.
Signposting to wider resources, online resources, books, bespoke groups/communities.
After the initial support, the hope is that individuals will access Peer Groups or if needed have some specialist counselling. Or they may leave the project, knowing they can return at any point in the future.
For more information about Early Response support please email –