A CHARITY supporting those bereaved by suicide is coming to St Helens offering free support to residents.

The Barbara Bettle Foundation was set up by Knowsley charity Caring Connections in 2017 in memory of Barbara Bettle who lost her life to suicide in 2015.

The service was developed in response to a perceived lack of support for families bereaved through suicide in the area.

In the past three years the service has provided more than 1,500 individual sessions of counselling to those bereaved through suicide across the Liverpool City Region.

The Samaritans reported approximately 6,500 deaths per year in the UK through suicide and researchers have found that anywhere between 6 – 60 people will be negatively affected by a suicide.

Statistics now show that 9 per cent of people affected by suicide will also attempt to take their own life and 8 per cent will drop out of work.

St Helens currently has the fifth highest suicide rate in England and Wales.

Paul Growney, CEO of Caring Connections, said: "The service has grown a lot over past three years, many people seeking out our support in great emotional distress in need of counselling support.

"The service has supported a wide variety of people including those who are recently bereaved and some who have been bereaved 30 plus years ago and never spoke of it.

"All having the same thing in common of being negatively affected by suicide and having very complex grief.

"The feedback of our service has been overwhelmingly positive which I would attribute to our fantastic counsellors Pam and Debbie and the highly personalised approach to our service."

Support provided through the foundation includes fully funded professional counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy all with the aim of supporting those bereaved by suicide to improve their emotional / psychological health.

Individuals can self-refer to the service in which there is no set number of sessions, all is tailored to the individuals support needs.

The service is being delivered with support through St Helens Public Health service and will form part of the OK to Ask Suicide Prevention Campaign.

For more information email Hannah.sowery@caringconnections.org.uk or call 0151 2892761.