Luna Foundation helps shape suicide prevention strategy for England

Luna Foundation’s CEO Anna Wardley has been invited to contribute to the Department for Health and Social Care’s new Suicide Prevention Plan for England.

Anna explains, ‘I am delighted to have this opportunity to highlight the urgent need to develop a strategy to care for children and young people bereaved by suicide.

‘While I was carrying out international research on best practice for supporting children who lose a parent or primary caregiver to suicide for my Churchill Fellowship, it became apparent that the care is lacking for this vulnerable group in the UK, and there is a lot we can learn from other countries where the mechanics for provision of care is well established.

‘Children who have lost a parent to suicide are three times more likely to go on to take their own lives. As they are at greater risk, it makes sense to prioritise them and it follows that taking care of them will help to prevent further suicides.’

‘It’s estimated more than 9,000 children lose a parent to suicide each year in the UK and I created Luna with the vision that every child or young person bereaved when their parent or primary caregiver takes their own life receives timely support to mitigate the risks they face.

As a Churchill Fellow, Anna was invited to submit the findings of her international research in Australia, Denmark, Sweden and the USA to the DHSC’s Mental Health Strategy Team to help them establish where there are gaps in provision.

Although the numbers of children who are bereaved by suicide are not formally counted in the UK as they are in other countries, childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish estimates that 25 children each day lose a parent to suicide. That’s more than 9,000 children each year.

Luna Foundation offers training to professionals who work with children and young people including to enable them to provide effective support when someone dies by suicide. Delivered in an accessible and interactive online session, it is suitable for for people in a wide range of roles including teachers, pastoral staff, GPs, social workers, foster carers, youth workers and mental health support staff.

There’s more information on training opportunities here and in The Hub, you’ll find a library of resources to help children bereaved by suicide.

You can also read Anna’s Churchill Fellowship report, Time to Count: Supporting children after a parent dies by suicide here.