Of course, we help if someone has difficulty filling in the form or doesn’t have online access. Our administration support is based at Leeds Mind to help us to manage this. The service has three part-time members of staff, two sessional workers and two volunteers.
Once we receive the form, one of our administrative team will call the person within two to three days. We double check the details and arrange to have a more in-depth discussion with each person, to assess their needs and how we can help. We confirm this by email, and
send a digital copy of Help is at Hand.
One of the permanent members of our team will carry out the assessment of need. The call is generally semi-structured yet based on what each person needs and the details available. Our team are peers – they have experience of suicide bereavement as well as knowledge of
services in Leeds. Some have also used the service in the past.
For us, lived experience is essential. The other stuff can be taught. People can find an immediate connection with each other when they call, reducing isolation and stigma.
It’s only really in the last six months that we offer the assessment of need over the phone for most people. We have reduced waiting lists for assessments almost completely by using telephone assessments. It means we can increase how much time in total that we can spend supporting people. We find it works well for most people; and as a standard approach – with exceptions where needed – we can offer more support, starting earlier.
We find that some people do not re-engage following the initial call. We don’t generally follow up unless expressly asked, as we are aware that some people find this difficult. We send mass emails around some of our events, such as our Summer family away days, or Christmas memorials, which shows people that we are still here.
Evaluating and continually improving our service is really important to us. We have session by session and group by group monitoring using postcards with space for both quantitative and qualitative feedback. We run quarterly focus groups and evaluate all of our events and programmes.
In the near future, we hope to further develop Real Time Surveillance (RTS). At the outset, we were able to notice possible connections in our data, so we were able identify and share the value of RTS. We have influence at the strategic suicide prevention group too, so will continue to work together with our partners both in Leeds and across West Yorkshire.