NICE Guidance (QS189) on Suicide Prevention Quality Statement 5: Supporting People Bereaved or Affected by a Suspected Suicide outlines the importance of support that is tailored to meet the needs of individuals. Support should focus on the areas of most importance to the individual, with the understanding that those priorities may change over time, as a relationship develops with the suicide bereavement liaison (SBL) worker and a person moves through their support journey.
It will be important to consider, not only an initial assessment of risk, but also an ongoing assessment of risk and symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder etc, with possible referral for treatment where appropriate.
It is not expected that the SBL worker or wider service will necessarily directly provide all the elements of support and particular/specialist expertise. Where appropriate the SBL should refer/signpost to other agencies, for example Citizen’s Advice Bureau, housing support, or other voluntary sector services such as the Coroner’s Court Support Service. An important function of the SBL worker or wider service is to work alongside the individual to facilitate the support that will meet their needs.
The approach taken to assessment and support planning will reflect the requirements of the organisation. Some services may be part of a larger organisation that can provide all appropriate support; whereas others may need to be aware of referral pathways into local services (e.g., IAPT, Community Mental Health teams, etc.).
Risk is dynamic and may change throughout the individual’s journey. It is therefore important to ensure they have contact details for agencies, such as Samaritans, and the local area’s single point of access number for NHS mental health services/NHS crisis helplines. This information can be listed on the service leaflet, or through support information provided, with occasional but appropriate reminders that these numbers are available.
Journey to support in Leeds
NICE guidelines (2019) on Suicide Prevention (Quality statement 5: Supporting People Bereaved or Affected by a Suspected Suicide).