Starting a new role in times of community crisis – Introducing Stacey, our new Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

I’m Stacey and I’ve recently joined the wonderful team at Harmless in the role of Suicide Bereavement Officer on the Tomorrow Project, supporting those who have been affected in any way by suicide.

 

Taking up my new role at the beginning of March 2020 gave me just a short time before the Coronavirus pandemic started to affect us all both individually and as an organisation.  The team is working incredibly hard to ensure continuity of service, but as someone who has a hereditary lung condition my intensive induction training will now be continuing from home for the foreseeable future.

 

The commitment and dedication at Harmless towards both staff and service users has been truly inspiring, and in these challenging times everybody has pulled together – I feel privileged to be able to say I am part of that team.

 

I come from a varied background although my most recent role has been working as an Independent Funeral Celebrant for the last 7 or so years.  I have officiated over 1000 funeral services and part of this role involved visiting families, hearing their stories and offering support.  Sadly there are a percentage of those families who have been affected by suicide. It is their incredible stories and courage that inspired me to take on the role of Suicide Bereavement Officer.

 

On a personal level my number one self-care measure has to be getting back to nature.  Most weekends will find me at my happiest sat looking out over a river, lake or pond feeding the ducks whilst the sun shines through the trees (weather permitting). On a rainy day Netflix is most definitely my second choice!

 

And so life continues in temporary isolation for so many of us.  I am relying on social media for some interaction (there are some great groups and sites out there offering support) researching and learning everything there is to know about my new role, before the day comes when we are safe and I can actively support the team and service users as we look to hope and recovery.

Stacey.

Introducing Sonia, our new therapist

Hello, my name is Sonia and I have been a therapist with Harmless for three months now, working with men and women of all ages affected by self harm and suicide. It’s taken me a while to get this post written as it’s the first blog I’ve actually ever done!

I was really pleased when I was offered this position and excited to get to know more about Harmless and the work that they do. I have been amazed by the organisation so far and how many different services are offered to people in real need of support during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

I come to Harmless from a background of working as a counsellor in third-sector voluntary organisations, for example, in a Leicester-based women’s counselling service working closely with domestic abuse and sexual violence. I am also a trained peer support worker and in this role have greatly valued opportunities to share my lived experience with those I have supported.

I feel my own personal values of hope and recovery, plus my person-centred approach to therapy, are well aligned with those of Harmless as a user led organisation – empathy and compassion are held especially close throughout the services that Harmless offers. I am also passionate about campaigning for and developing compassionate mental health services and look forward to engaging more in this process as a member of the Harmless team.

I’ve also been impressed by the training team (Let’s Talk Training) after attending three of their courses: Mental Health First Aid, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and Working with Self-Harm. These courses have proved invaluable to me already, both on a personal and professional level. It is great to see how the training Harmless delivers feeds directly back into the work that we do, by helping to fund therapeutic and practical support free at the point of access.

I feel part of a great team, who are really committed to the work that they do, and have felt very much welcomed as one of Harmless’ newer members.