Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Samaritans conference - self harm and those left behind after suicide

On a sunny September morning I was privileged to join the lovely staff and volunteers of the Samaritans conference for the second year running. http://www.samaritans.org/

They have a lovely system of designating a 'host' to meet and greet you and generally look after you as a speaker. It is a really friendly and useful gesture and much appreciated - thank you Hazel.

The Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.

The theme of the conference was to look at issues of self harm and those left behind after suicide. I included these aspects in my presentation.

Useful websites I have found are:-

Self harm information

The Site has many ‘problem’ areas but the self harm section has information on recovery, advice and support
National Self Harm network – useful download on helping others
A comprehensive source of self-injury information, includes definitions, explanations of why, etiology and demographics.

Those left behind after suicide information

SMHAI strives to be the most comprehensive and informative Survivor network available anywhere.
Tips and groups for mutual support for survivors in the aftermath of suicide
Links to more books.
Many links to all aspects of grief
Relevant information and resources.
After suicide: a guide for those left behind

In addition The Samaritans had been given a session on dealing with those left behind after suicide and had all been given a copy of an excellent booklet called 'Help is at Hand' - a resource for people bereaved by suicide and other sudden, traumatic death.
This is a Department of Health publication and is available here http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4139006

I listened to a wonderful presentation by their Chair to almost 95% of their delegates in the final session. How many conferences have that level at their close? She gave several statistics which amazed me ... a person takes their own life in the UK and Republic of Ireland every 94 minutes. The Samaritans take a call every 7 seconds. Their service is very much needed and looks to be going from strength to strength.

Thank you for having me and many thanks to those so kind enough to send me their wonderful comments on my presentation. They keep me going on with my mission!

Oh and I learnt something .... it is not a good idea to carry a full Sunday lunch and dessert on a tray in one hand and a trolley case in the other AND wear white jeans! Oops! Who was a drama queen in the restaurant with her lunch literally hanging down her legs?!! Thanks to the lady who provided wet wipes and it was a good job I was going home by car!!!

Elaine Hanzak



Emma H said...

Hi Elaine

I attended this seminar and it was so moving and informative. Your book already has me hooked. Keep up the good work.
Emma. xx

Luke said...


I was present in your seminar on Sunday, and I just wanted to express my appreciate for the wonderful presentation given by yourself. For me it was the highlight of the conference and provided many issue that I hadn't considered as a male, that I shall in future. Keep up the excellent work.