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Cathedral service for those affected by suicide

Published
31.08.2017

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday 10th September, a special service is being held at Gloucester Cathedral.

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The service, which is open to all members of the public, celebrates the lives of those who have died by suicide. It will also acknowledge the support given to those who have lost a loved one to suicide and recognise the people and organisations that work to prevent suicide.

Gloucestershire County Council has organised this in partnership with the Cathedral and the charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS).

All those involved are part of the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum (GSPPF), a multi agency partnership set up to tackle suicide in the county. The forum represents organisations from public, private and the voluntary and community sectors, as well as people who have lived experience.

The service takes place between 2pm and 3pm on Saturday 2nd September. It is open to all people regardless of faith, or whether they’re from the county or outside of Gloucestershire.

There will also be a memorial wall in the Nave from 12pm to allow visitors to display a photograph or words of importance to remember a loved one. Due to space restrictions the maximum size that can be used is A4.

Refreshments will then be served after the service in the Chapter House. If you would like to attend the service, please email suicideprevention@gloucestershire.gov.uk for more details.

In 2015 GSPPF launched a five-year plan to reduce the rate of suicide in Gloucestershire through a range of actions, including raising awareness and signposting people to the help available.

As part of this organisations from across Gloucestershire will be joining others around the world to mark the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and World Health Organisation‘s (WHO) World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday 10th September.

This year’s theme is ‘Take a minute, change a life’. It encourages communities to look out for those who may be struggling, be they friends, family, neighbours or strangers.

The campaign asks for people to check in with people who may be vulnerable, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference.

Sarah Scott, director of public health at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Suicide is a complicated and sensitive issue. We have to continue to do whatever it takes to reduce the number of suicides in Gloucestershire.

“This ceremony is an opportunity for us to mark the lives of those who have died by suicide, to reach out to those affected by the loss and to highlight the work of those helping to provide support and reduce suicide in the county.

“I’d encourage anyone who feels suicidal, or suspects that someone they care about is feeling suicidal, not to be reluctant to seek help. I know it is difficult, but talking to someone can really make a difference.”

The Cathedral is a special place in many people’s lives during difficult times.  It feels a fitting space to pause and celebrate the lives of those who have died by suicide and thanks for those who have supported families and friends who have been bereaved by suicide.   

Helen Jeffrey, community engagement manager at Gloucester Cathedral, said: “The cathedral is a special place in many people’s lives during difficult times.  It feels a fitting space to pause and celebrate the lives of those who have died by suicide and give thanks for those who have supported families and friends who have been bereaved by suicide”  

Canon Precentor Richard Mitchell, who will lead the service, added, “It is only right that the community comes together to reflect and to pray. All are welcome.”

As part of a series of regional events to mark Suicide Prevention Day this year, the Cathedral will also launch a display of artwork on 2nd September by students of Creative Connections, a partnership project by Gloucester Cathedral and Gloucestershire County Council’s Adult Education Service supporting adults in recovery and managing mental ill health.

The artwork will be shown on banners around the site works outside the cathedral, the students exhibition ‘Building History Together; Our Story Isn’t Over Yet’ will be open to the public in the Cathedral Cloisters from 12-26 September.

For further information please contact:  Helen Jeffrey, Community Engagement Manager, Gloucester Cathedral, Tel: 01452 229838, helen.jeffrey@gloucestercathedral.org.uk

To find out more about suicide prevention, please visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/suicide-prevention.

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