Step by Step Samaritans’ postvention service
Samaritan’s VISION is that fewer people die by suicide To bring this about, we make a big impact on the world around us by: reducing the feelings of distress and crisis that can lead to suicide increasing access to support for people in distress and crisis reducing the risk of suicide in specific settings and vulnerable groups influencing governments and other agencies to take action to reduce suicide
WHY DO WE WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE? • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people in the UK and Republic of Ireland • International research and best practice demonstrate the importance of responding well to a school suicide to reduce the risk of further suicides.
OUR SERVICES In 2015 we worked in over 400 schools in the following ways: Prevention Postvention • Raising awareness of emotional health, coping strategies and help available: • Schools talks • DEAL – Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening. • Supporting a school to recover after a suspected suicide or an attempted suicide: • Step by Step.
WHAT IS POSTVENTION? The term given to activities and programmes that are intended to assist those who have been bereaved by suicide to cope with what has happened. Suicide prevention and postvention are closely related in that postvention can also prevent further deaths. “ “
CONTAGION • Young people are particularly vulnerable to contagion (copycat behaviour) • The suspected suicide of a student in school can lead to suicidal thoughts among fellow students • People bereaved by suicide are often vulnerable and are more likely to take their own lives than the general population. • Research found an increased risk over a long period of time, up to two years after a suspected suicide
STEP BY STEP: Our aims: • To reach out to high risk communities to reduce the risk of further suicide • Enable the school/college community to be prepared for, respond to and recover from a suspected or attempted suicide • Prevent stigma and isolation within the community
AFTER A DEATH BY SUSPECTED SUICIDE In a school the results are devastating with the potential to affect many people. Friends Family Staff Community – word of mouth/media Suicide
ECHOES School Family Frontline staff Siblings Siblings At School Parents Class Parents PTA Year Group One death Relations Governors Teaching staff Social media Friends Place of religious worship media Pastoral Support Nearby Schools Online forums/chat sites Other parents Clubs Community
WE ARE THERE FOR THE COMMUNITY Giving people time, undivided attention and empathy meets a fundamental emotional need and reduces distress and despair
REPORTING AND TALKING ABOUTA SUSPECTED SUICIDE • There are links between media portrayal of suicide and copycat behaviours • Young people are especially vulnerable to negative suicide coverage
WHAT DOES STEP BY STEP OFFER? Outreach support Talks, workshops about emotional health Outreach support from local branches Supporting a school in its recovery Preparing and planning a response to a suspected suicide Responding in the immediate aftermath of a suspected suicide Support from Samaritans Postvention Advisor Information on Samaritans and accessing the service www.samaritans.org
SOURCES OF POSTVENTION SUPPORT Samaritans: Educational psychology services The faith group Access to Samaritans Counselling services The school: Step by Step support to Leadership team Internal school response Child and adolescent mental health services Offer of support to staff and parents Safeguarding boards Critical incident teams Other charity support/training
EXAMPLES OF STEP BY STEP SUPPORT • Samaritan Postvention Advisors can offer support with: • Communications to parents, members of the community • Dealing with press enquiries • Managing memorials • Parents and staff meetings • Advice on practical issues • With the local Samaritans branch: • Support of staff • Signpost to confidential support for individuals • Follow up talks and workshops for young people
WHAT SCHOOLS SAY “ “ “ “ They didn’t wait to see how we coped, they were here straight away and in hindsight this was really important. They helped to point out pathways, when you couldn’t see the wood for the trees. “ They are experts and pointed out things we would never have thought about, they are what we needed and we have had the need to use them more than once in the past few years. We are grateful they are part of our extended team. “
WHAT SCHOOLS SAY “ “ “ “ The breadth of the support they offered was really important, it was the whole package. They took us through everything, including things we hadn’t anticipated. “ We had some parents speak to Samaritans and the feedback I got was that it was really useful, allowing parents to support their children in the best way. They were just so afraid that their kids were going to do it too. “
WHAT CAN YOU DO? • If you learn of the suspected suicide of a student or staff member at a school please contact Step by Step • A Postvention Advisor will contact the school • The Postvention Advisor will discuss the needs of the school and will offer resources, practical support and advice • The Postvention Advisor will work with the nearest Samaritans branch to support the school further • For information about critical incident planning, please contact Step by Step.
CONTACTS Samaritans Step by Step Service 08081682528 email@example.com Samaritans Press Office 020 8394 8300 07943 809162 (Out of hours)