Mum Jacqui Page has twice been bereaved through suicide - now she is launching a support group to help other families facing the same heartbreak
07:40 20 February 2014
A new support group is being launched by a twice bereaved north Norfolk mum to help family and friends through the heartache of losing someone to suicide.
The woman behind the North Walsham-based venture, Jacqui Page, knows the benefits at first hand after both her husband and son ended their own lives.
When she lost her husband 23 years ago, she got help from, and involved with, the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide charity.
It operates a national helpline, support groups and conferences to tackle the complex mix of intense grief, guilt, shame and stigma endured by the loved-ones of suicide victims.
Then in 2006 she suffered her second hammer blow - returning home from work to find her 26-year-old son Simon, who worked in finance in the City of London, had also taken his own life after a depressive episode.
SOBS CONTACT DETAILS
The Norfolk SOBs support group will meet monthly on a Wednesday evening at the Charis Centre in Market Cross Mews, North Walsham. Any survivors will be welcome and will be treated with compassion, respect and confidentiality.
Contact the new group on 07867 512800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SOBS helpline 0844 561 6855 is available for 12 hours a day (9am to 9pm), seven days a week. The charity also has information on its website www.uk-sobs.org.uk.
She said: “It was heartbreaking. We were so close as mother and son.
“I will always have lifelong gratitude to volunteers who helped me through very difficult times.
“Actually speaking to another survivor who has been through a similar experience can be a great help as you cope through the grieving process.
“Eventually reaching acceptance and trying to make sense of the tragedy is very heartbreaking and difficult.”
Mrs Page, a dental practice manager in north Norfolk, added: “We never expect to outlive our children its not a natural process.
“Suicide leaves emotional carnage that can destroy the lives of those left behind without support.”
During her time manning the charity helpline in the midlands she took many calls from Norfolk.
The new Norfolk support group will be launched on April 14 at the Charis Centre in North Walsham.
Charity administrator Eric Thwaites said: “Norfolk is ranked as one of the places with highest rate of suicides throughout England and Wales. We are so please Jacqui has come forward and offered to open a support group for Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide within the Norfolk area. All we need now is for the word to get out that we are here to help and support those who have lost loved ones to suicide.”
North Norfolk MP and care minister Norman Lamb said: “Groups like this do incredibly valuable work supporting people who have experienced one of the most distressing of experiences.”
It came as he campaigned for better mental health crisis care including a new Concordat on Crisis Care for Mental Health involving 20 organisations including the police and the NHS aimed at helping tackle preventable suicides.