We are a group of parents who have lost their sons to suicide in the Bexley borough (Kent) within one year and have come together with family and friends to raise awareness of this devastating problem.
We have set up a group called “Your Space” with our local Samaritans for all the youngsters, within the boy’s friendship and family groups, as we found there was no help or support available for under 18’s. We are also working on a number of other projects with the Samaritans.
We are also working closely with Oxleas NHS (Greenwich, Bexley & Bromley) and have produced posters to go alongside an assembly to raise awareness of young people’s mental wellbeing, discuss resilience tools and suicide prevention and help that is available. We have delivered numerous assemblies to schools within Bexley/Greenwich Boroughs and also to other schools in SE London. These have been received exceptionally well, by teachers and students alike, and we have been asked back to continue this work.
Oxleas are keen to work with us to learn as much as they can, as our boys were not in their system. They have produced a strategy for their staff on suicide and have included a film of us and our young ones talking about the life changing effect this has had on all of us. This was launched on the 17th February 2017 and has resulted in us being asked to take part in many other Oxleas NHS projects in other areas. The strategy can be viewed at
http://oxleasstrategies.com/suicidepreventionstrategy (pages 6 to 8 – click ‘play video’ button)
Another project we are working on is for help to be given to families immediately after a loss, by suicide, as at the moment this does not exist to families not known to Services. We are currently talking with NHS (Bexley) who offers a Family Liaison Officer to people known to services and creating a Parent Charter for them to work from. We are also promoting the Help is at Hand Book to local Funeral Directors and Doctors to enable families to receive this essential guide as early as possible.
We are also working with Doctors Surgeries to raise awareness of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. We are displaying a Youth Services Board in their waiting rooms detailing organisations and websites that are available to help, including other Youth Services.
We are also working with Better Gyms to promote awareness, wellbeing and help lines by organising stands in their reception areas and speaking to their members. We have completed two of these at their Bexleyheath & Sidcup branches.
Our Youth Group have also been working together to speak openly about their experiences and to help many organisations in understanding how to reach out and attract younger people. Below is a video featuring George reaching out to young people through an online magazine called Basement.
Winners of the Bexley Volunteer Inspirational Team Award 2017