By Caroline Harroe (Harmless CEO)
Suicide is a complex issue that affects everyone around the person who has lost their life. Suicide bereavement is a difficult and complex journey that many families and loved ones experience. According to recent data by the UK Office for National Statistics, the number of suicides recorded in 2020 was the highest since 2001. While the nation is still comprehending how the pandemic has led to a rise in suicide rates, the cost of living crisis adds another layer of complexity that can significantly impact those in the suicide bereavement field.
The suicide bereavement field is at a critical juncture, and it is vital to continue moving forward. However, the cost of living crisis might pose a challenge to this progress. In this blog, we will discuss how the cost of living crisis might impact the suicide bereavement field and how we can turn this into an opportunity to continue our work.
Access to Bereavement Support
The rise in the cost of living affects the availability of support groups and services for those bereaved by suicide. Suicide bereavement services are already under-resourced, and increasing costs can put a burden on the availability and accessibility of these services. This might result in people who need help not getting the support they need when they need it the most. While this presents us with a significant challenge, we could take this opportunity to advocate for the importance of bereavement support and receive more financial investment for these vital services.
Mental Health Support
The cost of living crisis could lead to an increase in mental health issues, leading to more suicides. There is a risk that people who are struggling with their mental health may not seek support, even when they need it most. This might present us with a challenge in the suicide bereavement field. However, there is an opportunity here to create more awareness and educate people on the importance of seeking mental health support early on. We can bring together in-networks to promote mental health support and use social media to spread the message widely.
The cost of living crisis may lead people to feel increasingly isolated from their communities, leading to a rise in suicide. This sense of isolation could lead individuals to feel disconnected from their loved ones and the wider community, leading to relapses in treatment of mental health conditions, self-harm or even suicide. Addressing social isolation can be a challenge, but it presents us with an opportunity to create more inclusive and supportive communities. By coming together and working collaboratively to create more safe, supportive spaces and reducing prejudices that lead to a sense of social isolation, we can uplift people, reducing the risk of suicide.
The cost of living crisis adds to the fear of not being able to afford to live comfortably for many. The cost of living could lead to financial insecurity, which can affect both those already bereaved by suicide and those struggling with mental health conditions. This could pose a challenge to the suicide bereavement field. However, this situation also presents us with an opportunity to work together to advocate for policies that support suicide prevention and promote economic stability. We can also redirect budgets to improve long-term funding for not-for-profit organisations that support suicide bereavement to ensure that we get the financial resources required to continue the work.
The cost of living crisis is no doubt a time of significant change in society. However, amidst the chaos, there is a chance for transformation, and work towards suicide prevention and bereavement support must not be put on the back burner. It is crucial that we come together to address the challenges that are there, but more importantly, to see the opportunities this crisis presents to create a more inclusive, supportive, and sustainable society.
As we navigate the cost of living crisis, it is important to remember that the suicide bereavement field is a critical area that will continue to require support, advocacy, and investment. Let us work together to create more awareness, accessible support services, inclusive communities, and long-term funding. Together, we can overcome the challenges of the cost of living crisis and continue our work towards suicide prevention and bereavement support in the UK.
We would like to share with you the details of our forthcoming Suicide Bereavement Conference.
This online event will be taking place every Tuesday and Thursday morning throughout September.
Click here for more information and to book.