Greater Manchester Suicide Bereavement Conference

This community engagement conference took place on Monday 29th April 2019 at Friends' Meeting House in Manchester. The focus of the event was building a community infrastructure for those bereaved by suicide in Greater Manchester.

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Suicide remains the lead cause of death in Greater Manchester for people aged 15-29 the impact of losing some one to suicide can be felt by many people across a community. For this reason, STORM®Skills Training CIC in collaboration with Six Degrees CIC, members of the GM Bereavement Network, including Wendy Cordwell of Bereavement Care Services, co-ordinated a Greater Manchester Suicide Bereavement conference.  

The purpose of this free event, chaired by Malcolm Rae of State of Mind, was to support the roll out of the new GM Bereavement by Suicide Pathway. The 100 plus delegates were provided with the opportunity to learn about and explore the services and support available to the bereaved across Greater Manchester, including the Samaritans, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) and Papyrus.  

This diversity inspired thought-provoking dialogue in the 12 workshops that were held throughout the day (the full detail of the programme and the workshops are listed at the end of this article).

Delegates commented that they found the conference to be an insightful day which offered opportunity to gain knowledge, network and learn about other related organisations. Delegates were impressed by the presenters and resources provided. 

Jackie Hughes a Counsellor from Healthy Minds commented that the conference;

“Was a great opportunity to learn from the experiences and knowledge of others and gather information to enable me to feel more confident when signposting in my practice”

Kirsty Betts a Mental Health Practitioner from 42nd Street commented that she felt;

“Privileged to have attended the conference and moved by the feelings and experiences of all those who shared stories throughout the day. [The conference] was inspirational and gave me a sense of being more confident to speak openly about suicide and break the taboo”

The STORM®team received positive news of collaborative activities that have begun as a result of the conference.  These activities include a new peer support group based around a local hospice. Actions like this strengthen the community infrastructure, which in time, will lessen and possibly limit the human suffering caused by suicide. 

Agenda and useful resources

Opening RemarksMalcolm Rae, Chairman
Welcome and OverviewCllr Joanne Midgley, Manchester City Council
The GM PerspectiveAdele Owen, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership
How Young People Grieve in the Digital AgeWendy Lewis-Cordwell, Bereavement Care Services
StigmaTony Harrison, Papyrus
A Legal PerspectiveShane Smith, Slater & Gordan
The advantages and disadvantages of Social Media for bereaved young peopleWendy Lewis-Cordwell, Bereavement Care Services
The work of Samaritans and active listeningChris Jeffries, Samaritans
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) - Who are we?Eric Thwaites, SOBS
Shining a Light on Suicide: New GM Digital PlatformPaul Barner , Six Degrees and Paul King, Twistedgifted Digital Agency
Mental health Providers: Can you help us get bereavement support right and support us to learn when things go wrong?Matt Walsh, Pennine Care and Paula Smith, Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust
Young People & Bereavement by Suicide: what do they need to keep them supported and safe?Chris Jacob and Karina Nyananyo, 42nd Street
Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP)Sarah Bates, SASP
Samaritans and PartnershipsChris Jeffries, Samaritans
'Dare it be said, I understand'Fr Conor Stainton-Polland, Archdiocese of Liverpool
Closing RemarksGill Green, CEO, STORM Skills Training

This event was part of the STORM® Community Engagement Programmewhere as a not-for-profit social business, we reinvest surplus income into the community.

Thank you to all our speakers and to everyone who attended on the day, we hope to see you at future events!

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