A new suicide bereavement service has been commissioned for Portsmouth, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Amparo – which means ‘shelter’ or ‘safe haven’ in Spanish – provides support to anyone who has been bereaved or affected by suicide in any way, not just next of kin.
Amparo’s specialist liaison workers provide emotional and practical support, tailored to the needs of those who they are helping; support can be provided one-to-one, to family groups, groups of work colleagues – whatever is preferred and is most appropriate to the situation. This can include:
- One-to-one support from a named Amparo Liaison Worker
- Practical support dealing with police and other agencies
- Support at inquest
- Help with any media enquiries
- Help overcoming any feelings of isolation
- Referrals and signposting to other services as required
- Counselling for children and young people
- Critical incident debriefing
- Awareness sessions for professionals via Zoom
Suicide is life-altering for those bereaved and a traumatic event for the community and local services involved. People bereaved by suicide are at greater risk of attempting to or taking their own lives by suicide by up to 300%. It is estimated that a minimum of 10 people will suffer a severe impact as a result of each individual suicide.
Amparo aims to reduce the risk for those affected by suicide at any time, offering timely, practical information and guidance following a sudden bereavement. Since the commencement of the Amparo service in other areas of England, none of those supported have gone on to take their own life.
Richard Brown, CEO of Listening Ear, said: “We are delighted with the recent announcement that Amparo will now be available to people living in Portsmouth, Southampton, and the Isle of Wight and across Hampshire.
“Amparo has grown from its Merseyside base to now support people in Cheshire, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Kent and Medway, Coventry and Warwickshire and Lancashire. Extending our service across Portsmouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight and Hampshire means we now cover over 18% of the English population.
“Support for those bereaved by suicide is one of the six priorities in the national strategy, Preventing suicide in England – A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives, 2012. Amparo focusses on this support and helps those affected with practical and emotional support.”
Helen Atkinson, Director of Public Health at Portsmouth City Council, said: “An objective of our Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Portsmouth 2022 -2025 is to provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide.
“We know that death of a family member or friend by suicide is a risk factor for suicide in the bereaved and must ensure that no one feels alone in dealing with their grief or experience of suicide.”
Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Portsmouth City Council, said: “We recognise that the impacts of suicide are devastating and far reaching. Amparo will be an invaluable service for both adults and children going through an unimaginable time.
“It’s important to note that Amparo is not just for those who have been impacted by a recent suicide, but for anyone who may have been affected at some point in the past. I would encourage anyone in need of support to reach out.”
Amparo is free of charge and does not have a waiting list. To refer a person who has been affected by suicide into Amparo, call 0300 088 9255 or visit amparo.org.uk.
For anyone that needs help or is worried about someone, the following services offer immediate support: