Suicide support charity given £300,000 cash boost

A suicide prevention and bereavement charity in Cumbria has been awarded a six-figure grant to help expand its services.

Every Life Matters was set up one year ago and has been given £312,959 over five years to support development of its Suicide Safer Communities programme, and to develop a countywide Suicide Bereavement Support Service.

The county has some of the highest rates of suicide, with one person per week taking their own life

Ruby Seal Credit: Family photo

Julie Seal, from Carlisle, lost her 15-year-old daughter to suicide in 2017. She says having a support system in place would've made a huge difference to her family at the hardest time of their lives.

She said: "One point of central contact - giving us information, offering us help, letting us know what would happen, what the procedure was. I think would've been absolutely invaluable."

Frank Ritchie's son Alan died in 2015 - he says offering support to others has helped with his own grief.

He said: "Very shortly after Alan's death, you make a decision. Do you follow him? Do you hit the bottle? Do you retire to your bed and not bother to get up? Or do you do something?

"I am able to talk about my own lived experiences of suicide to explain to people what suicide bereavement services do and to offer any help I can. In terms of raising funds and raising the profile of issues of mental health, particularly suicide."

Alan Ritchie Credit: Family photo

Suicide remains the leading cause of death of young people under 25, of death of all men under 50, in the UK.

Chris Wood, Development Manager and co-founder of Every Life Matters says he hopes to use the money to help more people.

He said: “It’s estimated that around 1 in 17 people will have thoughts of suicide every year. In their lifetime a staggering 1 in 5 people are estimated to have thoughts of suicide and 1 in 15 will make some form of suicide attempt. Having thoughts of suicide is a common and very distressing response to challenging life circumstances, and we want to see an end to people struggling alone with these thoughts.”

Chris Wood, Every Life Matters Credit: ITV Border

Suicide Safer Community projects have already been piloted in Barrow, Copeland and Eden.

The Lottery grant will enable Every Life Matters to expand activity across the rest of the county.

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