today is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay … and we wanted to share something about our ‘What Remains’ film and peer support project for local families affected by suicide bereavement.
Our project began 12 months ago and set out to understand more about the emotional legacy of suicide bereavement and what can be done to support families and individuals, and to break down the stigma families often live with as part of its legacy. The project included open film screenings and question and answer sessions around Calderdale, and free, creative sessions for local people affected by these issues.
The success of the project also led to screenings and sessional work across the UK: including communities across central Lancashire, with Hull Samaritans, to 40+ members of the Suicide Bereavement Network in Manchester, and to 30+ senior mental health commissioners in Wakefield.
Sharon and Gillian have been invited as keynote speakers to talk about the work and showcase the film at the Suicide Bereavement UK’s 8th International Conference in September 2019 to over 400 people from 12 countries (inc. a representative from the United Nations).
The project also contributed to the successful £173K application to NHS England to develop a regional postvention strategy for West Yorks and Harrogate providing personal testimony and informed advice.
At the very heart of this is Gilly Brooks – writing and appearing in a widely-acclaimed film, bringing honesty and love to the screen in a bid to develop something new to help people affected by suicide loss.
She has given presentations in London, Manchester, Preston, Hull, and in September will be a keynote speaker at an international conference with delegates from across the world (incredible for someone who has never spoken in public before!).
Gillian also worked with Sharon from verd de gris to develop a new, creative session format for people bereaved by suicide – displaying a sensitivity and care that participants have benefitted from hugely.
She also runs a volunteer-led talking therapy group once a month – to support people affected by suicide, and to promote more volunteering opportunities for group members in bereavement counselling.
Gillian also gave a huge amount of time and advice to the application to NHS England – bringing her own experiences to help inform this major health initiative – quite a legacy!