Wednesday 31st October 2018

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has announced the launch of a specialist support group for military families coping with the aftermath of suicide.

Since January this year, 42 military personnel and veterans are reported to have taken their own lives. In response to these statistics, SSAFA is setting up a new, dedicated support service for families and friends affected by the suicide of a loved one.

Earlier this year SSAFA reported seeing an 11.26% increase in calls to Forcesline, a free and confidential helpline, from individuals linked to the Forces facing negative, sometimes suicidal, thoughts.    

In an ongoing commitment to adapt to the needs of the modern Armed Forces community, SSAFA recognises that a loved one taking their own life requires a specific type of bereavement support – different from that following a death during conflict or after an accident.

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 affected by this type of loss.

Sir Andrew Gregory, Chief Executive of SSAFA said:

“It is absolutely correct that a spotlight is being shone onto this issue, 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.

“SSAFA will remain on the frontline of support for all members of the Forces family, whenever and however they need us.”

If you are a member of the Armed Forces, veteran or a family member in need, contact Forcesline on 0800 731 4880.

To sign up for the support group please register online.

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