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About SASP

The Support After Suicide Partnership is a UK wide network of over 120 members and supporters. We were founded in 2013 to bring together national and local organisations that are involved in delivering suicide bereavement support across the UK and to address the need for formal, multi-agency, proactive suicide bereavement support. We’re a special interest group of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) based at Samaritans.

Our vision is that Everyone bereaved or affected by suicide is offered timely and appropriate support.

Our Work

Everything we do is driven by our Vision and we are working to make sure that excellent suicide bereavement support is available in every area of the UK. We are a membership organisation, and add value to our members’ by providing information and resources, as well as opportunities to share good practice and be involved in our work. Our Vision is supported by a compelling case and we are all working to set the global standard for suicide bereavement support. We are doing this in four areas, which are summarised below and a copy of our 2020 Business Plan is here.

Increasing the capacity of local suicide bereavement support

We all believe there need to be proactive services throughout the country and so we are working closely with NHS England on their Long Term Plan to ensure that every area of England has a proactive suicide bereavement support service by 2024. This means that people are offered support within 72 hours of a death by suspected suicide. We have been appointed to provide implementation support for this ambitious programme and have also developed a Central Hub, which provides important information, resources and support for both the current services and those being implemented over the coming years.

Connecting organisations and stakeholders

When a suicide happens, it impacts whole communities. Therefore, the response needs to be community-wide too. We work to ensure that the support infrastructure in the UK provides people with the support they need, when they need it.

Ensuring service provision is sustainable

We work to ensure there are robust measurement and evaluation frameworks, which enable services to know where they are on their journey to excellence at any point in time, and how SASP might support this journey. We support services to be recognised as integral parts of their communities, and good value for commissioners. We support them to exceed their own standards of service delivery.

It is important that our SASP network is at the forefront of good practice and current thinking and understands what excellence looks like.

Our Values

It’s really important that we implement excellent, new support services, but, as important, is the way this is achieved. Our values reflect how we work and are shared right across our network. We always strive to meet the highest ethical standards, and to always be:

Connective

We are a network that brings people together around a common goal. We provide opportunities for people to connect to others in the field, to strengthen their networks

Collaborative

We facilitate and encourage cross-sector organisations to work together towards our Vision. We provide opportunities for organisations to learn from each other, share best practice, and be part of a wider conversation

Inclusive

We believe anyone impacted by suicide should be offered timely and appropriate support; regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, wealth, background, the way they are impacted, or any other personal factor.We welcome organisations big and small, who share our values, to work with us to achieve our vision. We put lived experience at the heart of our work.

Progressive

We actively guide and encourage people to grow on their journey to be the best they can be. We drive change in UK policy and infrastructure to raise the profile and awareness of how to support people impacted by suicide

Supportive

We give people the resources to provide excellent services, and support them on their journey to quality practice

Steering Group

SASP and our sister organisation, the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA), share a steering group. Please find details of our steering group members here.

Patrons

Hamish Elvidge

Founder and Patron

Hamish founded the SASP in 2013. He chaired the Partnership until 2021 and, over this time, it has grown from the initial 10 members to over 80. He founded our close collaboration with NHS England to deliver suicide bereavement support in every area of England, by 2024. Hamish is Chair of The Matthew Elvidge Trust, which was formed after his son Matthew took his own life in 2009. The Trust aims to increase everyone’s understanding of the importance of good mental health, how to keep well… and ensure that people who need help receive the right support quickly. Hamish had a 30 career at J Sainsbury PLC and is a member of various national organisations connected with school and university mental health education, suicide prevention and bereavement support. These include the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, the City Mental Health Alliance Advisory Board, the Mental Health in Higher Education Advisory Group and the Schools’ Wellbeing Partnership.

Angela Samata

Patron

Angela presented the BBC1 BAFTA nominated and winner of the Mind Media Award for Best Factual TV documentary, ‘Life After Suicide’. The film challenged the stigma of suicide, with Angela sharing her experiences and that of her children after her partner took his own life 14 years ago. The documentary was reshown as part of the BBC’s Mental Health Season #InTheMind and was watched worldwide by over 4.5 million viewers. Angela is uniquely qualified to represent the views of those bereaved by suicide and was for 4 years as Chair and is now Ambassador, of the Survivors of the Bereaved by Suicide. Under her Chairmanship the number of support groups doubled, offering support to over 7,000 people bereaved by suicide each year. Angela is also an invited attendee of the All-Party Parliamentary Group looking at Suicide Prevention in England and Wales. Her charity work, together with the making of the documentary was recognised as Angela was named as the Merseyside Woman of the Year 2015. As a freelance Arts professional for over a decade, Angela continues to work with individual artists and arts organisations, while also speaking publicly about mental health issues. Often her work in Mental Health and the Arts come together and in 2018 she will complete a Winston Churchill Fellowship looking at both disciplines.

Barry McGale

Patron

Barry is a Cognitive Therapist and is the 2016 winner of the American Association of Suicidology,  Roger J Tierney Award for services in suicide prevention. He was the Suicide Awareness Co-ordinator in the Western Health & Social Care Trust. Barry has worked globally to improve suicide prevention services. He was instrumental in bringing the ASIST and Safetalk programmes to the UK and Ireland. He is a Senior Coaching Trainer with Living Works Incorporated and delivers ASIST Training for Trainers. The current service in the Western Trust has been recognised as a model that should be replicated throughout the UK. Barry is a member of the Scottish Executive’s Research Expert Group on Suicidal Behaviour, a former Director of the Board of the Irish Association of Suicidology, and a member of the American Association of Suicidology. He was the Chairperson of Youthlife. In 2013, Barry was appointed to the Executive Committee of The National Suicide Research Foundation (Ireland).

Dr Alexandra Pitman

Patron

Dr Alexandra Pitman is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry in the UCL Division of Psychiatry and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. Her research interests are in the epidemiology of suicide and self-harm, and preventing suicide. She conducted a national survey of people bereaved by suicide, which found that people bereaved by suicide are at greater risk of suicide attempt than people bereaved by other sudden deaths, and significantly more likely to perceive stigma and a lack of informal support. She co-leads the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health research network. She was a member of PHE's Expert Reference Group on suicide bereavement and contributed to the 2017 PHE publication 'Support after a suicide: a guide to providing local services.' She has been widely funded to conduct research into the impact of bereavement.  

Head Office

Michelle Stebbings

Executive Lead

Michelle Stebbings joined us in March 2020 as the new Executive Lead for SASP. Michelle has a wealth of experience in the charity sector having worked in a variety of outreach, engagement and programme management roles at Tourettes Action, Diabetes UK and PAPYRUS. Michelle's most recent role was with Gambling with Lives where she was responsible for developing and growing a family support service for people bereaved by gambling related suicide.

Richa Mitra

Implementation Manager

Richa joined the team in June 2023, she has worked in the charity sector for several years now, having worked in frontline Psychology roles since finishing university. She initially worked within international development (through education and health programmes) before working in a range of mental health charities and most recently in the Rail team at Samaritans. Richa leads our work with NHS England to provide suicide bereavement support in every area of the country; co-ordinating our Central Hub, driving the development of services, and providing bespoke support to STPs.

Charlotte Payne

Membership and Communications Officer

PJ Sangalang

Project Officer

PJ joined the team in July 2023, having previously worked at Grassroots Suicide Prevention and IAPT service We Are With You, primarily in administrative roles, and he is also a listening volunteer with Samaritans. He has previous training experience and academically, he has background in psychology and is currently studying counselling.

Chair of SASP

Simon Blake OBE

Chair

Simon Blake OBE joined MHFA England as Chief Executive in October 2018, leading the organisation to achieve its vision of normalising society’s attitudes and behaviours around mental health, through training one in ten of the population in mental health skills and awareness.  As well as Chairing SASP he Chairs the Dying Matters Campaign based at Hospices UK and the Headspace International Advisory Board. He is also a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. He is a writer, campaigner and trainer and was awarded an OBE for services to the voluntary sector and young people in 2011. He enjoys running, equestrian eventing and his dog.