Last night I announced that SSAFA is creating a new support group for Forces families. Indeed, you may see or hear mention of this in the media in the next few days. The sad fact is, since January this year, 42 military personnel and veterans are reported to have taken their own lives. In response to these statistics, and in keeping with our mission to relieve need, suffering and distress, SSAFA is setting up a new, dedicated support service for families and friends affected by the suicide of a loved one. The shadow of grief from losing a loved one in this way can last a lifetime. It is a priority for SSAFA to support those left behind if a member of the military community takes their own life. This is as devastating a loss as any other, and it’s our duty to help where we can with the processing of this grief. Recognising that a loved one taking their own life requires a specific type of bereavement support, SSAFA’s new support group will give individuals the opportunity to share experiences, information, advice and a chance to meet others in the same position. The first group will meet in early 2019 and is open to anyone in the family unit. Please direct anyone who you feel would benefit from this new service to the website to register their interest: Support Groups. I know many of our volunteers are already supporting those who have experienced this type of loss with emotional and financial assistance. I thank you for this and hope this new service will enhance the emotional support we are able to offer to those in need. You may remember that earlier this year Forcesline reported an increase in calls from individuals linked to the Forces facing negative, sometimes suicidal, thoughts. Remember: Forcesline is available on 0800 731 4880, between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday. For those in need of support outside of these hours, Combat Stress has a 24hr mental health helpline for:
Veterans and their families 0800 138 1619.
Serving personnel and their families 0800 323 4444.
Alternatively, Samaritans is available 24hrs a day on 116 123. Andrew