SUICIDE IS a huge but largely preventable situation, in 2019 just under 7000 people in the UK took their own lives.

For every suicide there are scores of family and friends whose lives are devastated emotionally, socially, and economically.

Here in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, there is an urgent need for a positive structured response to address the issues surrounding suicide,

There is a trend locally and nationally for those taking their own lives based around the complex underlying causes including poverty, unemployment, loss of loved ones, arguments, breakdown in relationships and legal or work-related problems and more recently the pressures of lockdown and related anxiety have been part of the increase in the numbers of suicides in 2020 already.

It’s important to realise that suicide is preventable, and that having access to the means of suicide is both an important risk factor and determinant of suicide.

Butterflies, the leading Bereavement Support and Friendship charity in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has been very proactive with their Suicide Prevention Project over the past three years and this years has been able to increase the support to those who are struggling with life through a number of new services and since then has seen a massive increase in people asking for help when they are at the lowest ebb of their lives.

It is important that anyone with suicidal thoughts are able to access face to face support at the earliest opportunity.

We all know that people can get referred to agencies for assessments, but the greatest need is not the waiting game, but being able to speak to someone face to face or someone who has the skills to listen, guide and help to put things into perspective is the best approach and we have seen this work well over the past eight months and we are increasing this service substantially with a dedicated team and support network locally.

Of the 30 people who accessed the service in the past four months – only one case was unsuccessful for other underlying issues – those who have been helped and supported, continue to have a named contact for any wobbles in the future and know that help is at hand and can come back and talk at anytime and a regular contact service to check on their wellbeing.

Butterflies is also very proactive in supporting those families who have been bereaved through suicide, both with the advice and support at the time of death, the ongoing emotional support and through counselling and our support groups for families and friends.

Through this significant positive approach, lives have been transformed and Butterflies continues to work to a more upfront approach to supporting anyone who considers suicide as the only way forward.

In this week where suicide is highlighted, with World Suicide Prevention Day today (September 10) it is essential that we all work together to create a world where people know that specialist support is available and that its acceptable to be able to speak to others, gain help with problems and find a way forward that does not leave a trail of devastation.

Butterflies continues to expand its suicide prevention services including creating a new dedicated helpline locally and phone app in due course as the first steps of working towards zero suicides in the future.

•Dedicated Suicide prevention team

•New dedicated helpline

•Face to Face support at the time of need

•Ongoing support for families post suicide

• Increased local community resource points

Butterflies Bereavement Support