BEDFORDSHIRE SUICIDE BEREAVEMENT SERVICE (BSBS)

If you are visiting this page today you may be a relative, friend or colleague of someone who has taken their life; a suspected suicide. If this is the case it’s likely to be a time of confusion, shock and deep sadness at the loss of your loved one or friend.

You may be unsure of what to do next, who to contact, how to tell family and friends, what words to use to tell your children or other children in the family. A suspected suicide death is unlike most other deaths. All deaths are unique and the way people grieve is also unique to them, however a suicide adds a complexity to a death and the normal emotions and feelings felt by people grieving, such as sadness, denial, anger, guilt and frustration, can be felt very intensely.

These emotions and many more are all very normal in the circumstances of what has happened to you.

The Bedfordshire Suicide Bereavement Service (BSBS) supports people living anywhere in Bedfordshire and Luton of any age. We are a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers, mostly with lived experience of suicide. International research has shown that very early support following a suspected suicide death gives most people the very best outcomes, emotionally and physically.

We can offer practical and emotional support within around 48 to 72 hours of a referral been received, this includes the delivery of an information pack.

 PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO COVID-19 ALL SUPPORT AT PRESENT IS DELIVERED VIRTUALLY 

Support visits are undertaken at home 1:1 or with family groups. Liaison with professionals may include schools, a GP and the Coroner up to and including the inquest. We also provide adult and children’s support groups.

Most of our referrals are made by our partners Bedfordshire Police when a death occurs within Bedfordshire. They provide us with a minimal amount of contact information.

Referrals can also be made by other professionals and via self-referral by emailing our service email bsbs@chums.uk.com or calling the office number 01525 863924.

Referral Criteria

  • Suicide or suspected suicide death

  • Lives in Bedfordshire or Luton. Death can have occurred somewhere else

  • We support anybody and any age

  • Referral to be made within approx. 8 weeks of death.

Referral Information Required for each Person Referred for Support

  • Name

  • Date of death

  • Name of deceased and relationship to the referred

Children and Young people under the age of 18 years can receive immediate short-term support from the Bedfordshire Suicide Bereavement Service (BSBS), further ongoing support can also be accessed from the Bereavement Service. You can make a referral directly to them clicking the following button

Make a Referral

Gemma and Mason’s Story

“Back in May 2016 I took a phone call one late Friday evening that would change my 9-year-old son Mason’s life forever and turn our world as a family upside down. Mason’s dad David had taken his own life. How do you tell a 9-year-old that their Dad has died, let alone explain suicide? I needed help, that help came in the form of Caroline from CHUMS.

Without hesitation Caroline called, visited over the bank holiday weekend, going above and beyond her job role. She gave us advice on how to tell Mason, guided us through the funeral, and was just there whenever we needed in those early days. Mason attended his first workshop in November 2016 and left smiling for the first time in months, in his own words ‘mum I met people just like me’.

Mason has found a support network through CHUMS, he has met other children bereaved by suicide, who he can share experiences with, but also have fun with. We know there will be more tricky times ahead as we reach the teenage years, but we feel less apprehensive knowing CHUMS have our backs.”

“On being approached by CHUMS, I was apprehensive as to whether to proceed. The lady from CHUMS’ help and understanding of my feelings is palpable. I will not hesitate to recommend CHUMS to anyone who needs a caring ear. With grateful thanks, Kathy Bramall”  Age 76

For more information about this service please contact:

Caroline Holley – Service Lead
Diane Barnes – Service Coordinator
Telephone: 01525 863924

Service User Testimonials

“Two years ago, my life changed from the happiest I’d ever known to the saddest, with pain that I would not wish on anyone.  My life and my boys won’t be the same again.  Grief is unique to each person that experiences a loss, but Bedfordshire Suicide Bereavement Service run by CHUMs and the people I have met through them, have been a tremendous support. CHUMS have always been there whenever I have asked for help and that’s priceless, however, BSBS is a charity and like so many others, they need money to carry on their great work, sadly, for the many who will need the service in the future.”

“After losing my son Martin to suicide, I really do not know how our family (which includes Martin’s two young sons) would have coped without CHUMS and Caroline.  Thank you”

“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that donated to Chris’s memory giving page, raising a staggering £5,000.  As much as we wish the page didn’t exist, the funds raised will go towards the BSBS Appeal, such an amazing initiative that CHUMS have in place.  Caroline arrived at our door the day after Chris passed and it was like a guardian angel coming to our home.  Our lives have been turned up upside down and we can honestly say that without the support and guidance from Caroline and CHUMS, we would not be able to get through this tragic time.”

Resources and Information

Managing Difficult Times

Download PDF

Support after Suicide Partnership – Support after Suicide; Help is at Hand Guide

Visit Support After Suicide

Guide to Inquests and Coroner Services

Visit Coroners Services

Rethink Mental Illness

Visit Rethink

Books

Beyond the Rough Rock – ISBN -13:978-0953912377 Winston Wish –  supporting a child who has been bereaved though suicide. Explaining to a child that someone has died by suicide is possibly one of the most difficult situations that a parent or carer might ever face.  This booklet offers practical advice for families in the immediate days and weeks when suicide has been the cause of death.