A SUPPORT group for those left behind after a loved one commits suicide has been launched in Bury St Edmunds.
The Suffolk branch of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide offers regular meetings as well as telephone and email support.
The group was set up by Suzy Clifford, who received vital help from the charity after her husband Len committed suicide in 2009.
Mrs Clifford, who is acting as a facilitator, said: “It’s a very specialist, serious, intense and almost overwhelming grief. We’re the survivors and what we’re doing is supporting each other. We have empathy.
“There are about 80 suicides in Suffolk each year.
“There’s nothing like this in the whole of East Anglia, no national charity and it’s long over due.
“People may have unresolved grief which could go back 20 years.”
About 30 people attended the group’s launch event at the Self Centre, in Kempson Way, including those who come into contact with individuals bereaved by suicide plus representatives from the emergency services, undertakers, solicitors and potential volunteers.
Guest of honour was actor Hugh Fraser, who played Captain Hastings in Poirot.
When asked how the group will help people, facilitator Dan Pennock, who is a former Samaritan, said: “People can listen to other stories and realise they’re not alone. This is where we like to encourage body support for them to be able to exhange their telephone numbers and support each other. There’s sign-posting support so people can phone through the national helpline and get through to Suzy who can send them information and sign-post them to other appropriate organisations because everyone’s circumstances are obviously different.”
The group is now appealing for anyone interested in providing financial support to come forward.
For further information, support or advice about the group and its work, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the national helpline on 0844 5616855. They can also visit www.uk-sobs.org.uk