Losing a loved one through suicide is a loss like no other.
In "From Grief to Hope" a report published last year, there were quoted the words of a person bereaved through suicide - "My experience of suicide is that it is the equivalent of a bomb going off in your living room while you are sitting watching telly."
In my time as Coroner, spanning nearly two decades, I met hundreds of people who had suffered such losses. It is estimated that close on a hundred people take their own lives every year in Norfolk and there may be more.
A suicide can affect many people - not just immediate family and close friends but also the wider family, professionals like doctors and social workers, work colleagues and whole communities.
The impact can often be devastating and deeply traumatic for a number of reasons.
Suicide challenges the value and meaning of life. It can never be a matter of indifference.
Regrettably there is still in the minds of some people an element of stigma and shame which is wholly unjustified.
Suicide can produce a range of traumatic emotions - anger, guilt, blame. Why could this be allowed to happen? How could it be prevented?
Sometimes there is just bewilderment. Sometimes questions remain unanswered and survivors have be helped to live without having answers.
Unfortunately, people find it very difficult to talk about suicide and this intensifies their grief.
The leaflet which we have produced describes some of the sources of help available locally - see download link below.
We need to talk more openly about suicide in a sensitive, informed and non judgemental way. We really must stop using the expression "commit" suicide.
Those who have been bereaved through suicide can sometimes suffer long term trauma and even become suicidal themselves.
It is therefore vital that we give all the support we can.
- William Armstrong OBE, Patron of Norfolk and Waveney Mind and Chair of Norfolk and Waveney Suicide Bereavement Partnership.
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