Two new services providing support to people who have been bereaved are being launched in Kent.
The first – led by CHUMS Social Enterprise CIC – will deliver specialist bereavement support to those from pre-school age (three-and-a-half years-old) to 25-years-old who are experiencing complex grief.
A second service – also commissioned by Kent County Council and the Kent and Medway CCG – called Amparo (and led by Listening Ear), can support anyone who has been affected by a suicide by providing practical and emotional support in a range of ways including one-to-one individual advice, help with media enquiries, support and guidance up to and including the inquest and signposting to further services.
KCC Cabinet Lead for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Clair Bell said: “By working very closely with partners across Kent, we have seen that these children and adults need much more specialist support to help them get through such incredibly hard experiences. We encourage our partners and anyone in frontline services to signpost and flag up these new services so they can get that crucial support as early as possible.”
Dr Jihad Malasi, Clinical Lead in Mental Health from the Kent and Medway CCG added: “These two new projects will allow us to ensure that children and adults are able to access support and guidance at this difficult time in their lives. Speaking to someone about what they are experience can make all the difference and help them cope with the loss they have suffered.”
Dawn Hewitt, Chief Executive at CHUMS, comments, “Bereaved children, young people, young adults and families in Kent and Medway deserve to have this service and CHUMS are privileged to have been chosen to deliver it. Those that would benefit from the service will receive the highest levels of care to help them to manage the overwhelming impact that a bereavement can have on their lives.
“We are delighted to have been successful with the new contract and are looking forward to ensuring that a bereavement service is available for those with complex bereavement needs. We will offer holistic support that helps to manage the impact that a death has on the lives of children, young people, young adults and families across Kent and Medway”.
CHUMS will offer bereavement support in Kent and Medway through bereavement groups for children and young people; 1:1 bereavement support; telephone advice and guidance and bereavement literature. Details of this support will be widely publicised within education settings, primary care, youth groups and other relevant organisations, whilst referrals including self-referrals will be available via an online form at www.chums.uk.com.
Richard Brown, CEO of Listening Ear (Merseyside) which manages the Amparo service in Kent & Medway said: “We offer support to people going through something which most of us find unimaginable. The process following a suspected suicide can be lengthy and complex. Our Liaison Workers are able to offer expert advice and guidance to support people through this time.
“We know that those bereaved by suicide are at much higher risk of suicide themselves, so it is crucial we are able to provide immediate help and support to those bereaved. Amparo can help with a lot of the practical issues that arise when suicide is suspected or confirmed.”
The details of Amparo and information about the support they offer will be shared with all frontline workers who are most likely to be in contact with those affected by a suspected suicide including coroner’s officers, GPs, firefighters, paramedics and police officers. The service can be accessed by calling 0330 088 9255, by emailing email@example.com or through an online referral form available at www.amparo.org.uk .
People are also reminded of the help available in Kent including an easy to use mental health text service. As part of the ‘Release the Pressure’ campaign, texts are free on all major mobile networks – by texting the word “Kent” to 85258, you will start a conversation with a trained and experienced volunteer who can give support at any time, wherever you are. You can find out more about ‘Release the Pressure’ text service, freephone helpline and other community mental health support services by visiting www.releasethepressure.uk