Herefordshire Council has unveiled a new suicide bereavement service, reinforcing its dedication to supporting those affected by suicide and its prevention.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for individuals under 35 in the UK. However, with timely intervention and support, many of these tragedies can be averted. Matt Pearce, Director of Public Health, Community Wellbeing, emphasised the importance of mental health awareness, stating, "Everyone has mental health, whether good or bad. It is crucial that we continue to spotlight suicide prevention and its profound impact on families, friends, and communities."

The newly launched service in Herefordshire offers free, confidential support to residents of all ages. From practical assistance with funeral arrangements, liaising with the police, coroner, and media, to emotional support, help is just a call or email away. Residents can reach out to the service on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays between 9 am and 5 pm by calling 01432 800867 or emailing [email protected]. For those in need outside of these hours, a 24/7 national support line is available at 08 08 16 89 111.

Matt Pearce further highlighted the council's commitment to mental wellbeing, noting it as a primary focus in Herefordshire's new Health and Wellbeing Strategy. "We are collaborating with partners to devise actions that will realise our goal of ensuring good mental wellbeing for all," he added.

Residents can also benefit from the 'Now We’re Talking – Acting Together to Prevent Suicide' campaign, which educates people about suicide prevention. Additionally, free suicide prevention training is accessible to everyone, and the 'Orange Button Scheme' encourages trained individuals to wear an orange badge, signifying their readiness to assist those grappling with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts.

The council's recent initiatives also encompass the introduction of a local Bereaved by Suicide service, which extends its support to anyone in the county affected by suicide, including emergency service workers.

For more information and resources, residents can visit the Victim Support website and the Support after Suicide website. If you or someone you know is struggling, the Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s Urgent Mental Health Helpline is available at 0808 196 9127, or text WOO to 85258 for free, anonymous support.