Since January this year, 42 military personnel and veterans are reported to have taken their own lives.1 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.2
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 visit: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/currently-serving/family-support-groups
Notes to editors:
- Statistics related to the first half of 2018 (1 January – 30 June). 14,339 incoming contacts by telephone or email, compared to 12,888 for the same half in 2017. This represents an 11.26% rise in serving personnel, veterans and their families reaching out to SSAFA for help and advice for financial and mental health.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity supports the person behind the uniform; any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us. Every year, SSAFA help more than 73,000 people from the Forces family get on their feet; those currently serving, reserves, veterans and their families.
Support is there for people at any stage in their military career; from the youngest recruit to the oldest veteran – no one’s service is ever forgotten. We give hope, help and personal support for as long as it takes to get that person’s life back to where they want it to be.