In 2013 there were 6,233 suicides of people aged 15 and over in the UK.
Being bereaved by suicide is a unique form of loss with a complex set of emotions that can include guilt, questioning, anger, stigma and shame that can lead to the development of mental health problems and being at a higher risk of suicide themselves.
As a result, the government's National Suicide Prevention Strategy (2012) has one of its six areas for action the need to provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide.
Public Health England commissioned Meadows Communications to develop Help is at Hand as a guide offering practical information and emotional support.
We took a genuine co-production approach and handed discussions and decision-making about the approach, copy development and visual imagery to an Advisory Group of people affected by bereavement by suicide. We also worked closely with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance and the Suicide Bereavement Support Partnership.
The guide uses strong personal stories and photography to offer reassurance and convey that 'You are not alone'.
The main guide is complemented by a compact z-card to be distributed by first responders after a death. A supporting website was also created: www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk
In the first 10 days after launching the guide the website had 2700 unique visitors with 1750 PDF downloads. The predicted annual supply of 10,000 free printed copies were distributed within two weeks.