A sad, tragic but important day…
Six years ago today, quite early in the morning I heard of a death in my local community. I read what I saw on social media, and like the rest of my community felt a deep sense of sadness and shock. A guy who was known to many had taken his life. I had seen him recently. He had served me in my local shop. We chatted superficially. He was not my friend, but a well recognised familiar face who I would say hello to when we passed simply because of the purchase of milk or such like.
This date is a date I remember, because without realising it at the time, it was a day that would months later give way to further tragedy and ultimately lead to the birth of the Tomorrow Project.
In the November of that year I had further witnessed some of the fall out in my own community. I had seen the pain and confusion amongst people I know and in a community that I love; I had seen arguments about suicide, I had seen pain and I had seen support.
In the same year I also found myself compelled to act because what was also clear was that other than in—community, in—family, in-friendship support there was nothing to support those affected by this loss – the very specific loss of suicide.
Unfortunately for this community, it wasn’t our only loss and as such, I found myself trying to rally the support of local statutory services, to receive consistently and without hesitation rejection: ‘we have no plan for events like this’; ‘we don’t have a strategy to help’; ‘this isn’t our responsibility’.
I was angry, sad, confused. I felt those things for myself and for every person touched by these losses. I won’t tell their story – it isn’t mine to tell… but what I can say is that what happened thereafter is what has led to the county wide delivery of a suicide crisis and bereavement service, one that has the eyes of the UK on it as a model of best practice. I and my colleagues would NOT accept that nothing could be done to support families and communities or that suicides couldn’t be prevented.
What I have learned since that time is that this field is a vital, complicated and painful field to work in but within six years we have managed to achieve national acclaim for a project that started in the hearts and minds of a local community on this tragic day, six years ago. I hope that in some way this brings comfort to thee family simply by knowing that we will keep fighting for this to not be another family’s story.
The Tomorrow Project was named by mothers who had lost their sons. It is theirs. It belongs to everyone who is touched by suicide.
The project is interested in bringing about local, regional and national change in the field of suicide prevention. We now offer direct access, swift suicide crisis support to anyone who needs it. With two dedicated buildings – one in the very village where the Tomorrow Project came from, and a dedicated team who will be there for those who need it.
We have built with the police and the Nottinghamshire coroner, a referral system that makes it easy for the police (via their IT systems) to automatically refer families and communities affected by suicide directly to our dedicated bereavement team, where now THEY WILL get the help that they need.
Today is an important day because we remember those who have lost their struggle to despair and we dedicate the future of our work to their suffering and to the losses of families who have faced pain beyond measure.
One day, we hope beyond hope, that the Tomorrow Project will no longer be needed, but for now, know that we will keep fighting for survival to help those that need it the most and create change in a word that needs it.
Caroline Harroe, CEO