Suicide cases stretch bereavement service to limit as grim times hit Hartlepool

Hartlepool Bereavement Services manager Linda Parker, right, with chairman Edgar Coulson, left, and advisor Peter Gowland.
Hartlepool Bereavement Services manager Linda Parker, right, with chairman Edgar Coulson, left, and advisor Peter Gowland.

Hartlepool’s bereavement service is appealing for help to raise £10,000 to address a growing demand from families affected by suicide.

The organisation, which helps about 200 people a year, says it is seeing an increasing workload related to the issue in today’s troubled economic climate.

Hartlepool Bereavement Services manager Linda Parker, right, with chairman Edgar Coulson, left, and advisor Peter Gowland.

Hartlepool Bereavement Services manager Linda Parker, right, with chairman Edgar Coulson, left, and advisor Peter Gowland.

Hartlepool Bereavement Service, in Park Road, has already secured £9,800 from a generous supporter to expand its services, but says it needs to match it to make a real difference.

As well as suicide, the service will also help people affected by the loss of loved ones through alcohol-related deaths.

Service manager Linda Parker said: “In these troubled times we are seeing a growing need for support for families bereaved through suicide.

“It’s a subject that is swept under the carpet.”

It is a huge subject and I don’t really think it is being addressed at the moment

Edgar Coulson, Hartlepool Bereavement Service management committee

The latest Office of National Statistics for suicides only go up to 2014 so it is not known if there has been a recent rise in people taking their own life that is causing the increased demand the Hartlepool service is seeing.

The rate of suicides in the UK increased in 2013, with the level among males its highest since 2001 with middle-aged men most at risk.

The UK suicide rate was 11.9 deaths per 100,000 people. The North East had the highest rate in England at 13.8 deaths per 100,000.

Linda added: “If you look at this area, with high levels of unemployment and things like zero hours contracts, people are being pushed to the limits.”

Edgar Coulson, chair of Hartlepool Bereavement Service management committee, added: “It is a huge subject and I don’t really think it is being addressed at the moment.

“A lot of people who have suffered due to suicide of a family member are not really talking about it.

“They are keeping it bottled up. We need to be able to say to them there is somebody here who will offer you support.”

Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the death of former Newcastle player Gary Speed who was found hanged at his Cheshire home.

The Royal College of Nursing and Mental Health Foundation have called for better mental health provision in the community to help prevent suicide.

The Tees Suicide Prevention Taskforce involves key partners working together and the use of local knowledge to identify people at risk of suicide and to implement a local plan.

Anyone wishing to help Hartlepool Bereavement Service reach its £10,000 target can contact Linda on (01429) 244689 or email: linda.parker@hartlepoolbereavementservice.org.uk