Fiona Venner, CEO of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service and Councillor Lisa Mulherin at the launch of Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service

In 2014 the then, Coalition Government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy recognised that people bereaved by suicide are a target group for support, as being bereaved by suicide makes you more at risk of suffering negative health outcomes and ending your own life. The term used internationally to encapsulate such support is, postvention:

“Postvention are activities developed by, with, or for” people affected by a suicide bereavement “to prevent adverse outcomes including suicidal behaviour.”
(Andriessen, 2006)

Leeds had a history of a long running peer support group for people bereaved by suicide (the LOSS Group) facilitated by volunteers, which had stopped running years previously. While a more comprehensive plan for bereavement support after a suicide was being developed, different group of different volunteers started up a peer support group in the spring of 2014.

On the 10th of September 2015, World Suicide Prevention Day, Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service, (LSBS) was set up as a partnership between Leeds Mind and Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service, (LSLCS) with support from Leeds Bereavement Forum (LBF). Leeds City Council has providing funding for the project, which is initially to run as a pilot for three years.

LSBS is now in its third year and had 210 referrals for support in its first 2 years.