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Last updated: 01 March 2024

Who are these documents for?

Homelessness organisations, especially for those who may be developing new policies and procedures for supporting staff after the death of someone accessing a service.

Why are they relevant?

In 2021, 13.4% of deaths of people experiencing homelessness in England and Wales were deaths by suicide. By comparison, 1% of registered deaths in the general population were deaths by suicide. Homelessness services need to have a suitable approach, and relevant and appropriate policies and procedures in place, to support people at risk of suicide.

What are the key takeaways?

  • Suicide Prevention Protocols provide guidance and direction to staff about the interventions and care required to increase the safety of people who are at risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts/feelings.
  • How things are approached is equally as important as the delivery of policies and procedures: person-centred practice is key.
  • The death of a person experiencing homelessness can be a traumatic event. When a death takes place by suicide, people across a service may have mixed responses so it is essential that there are clear procedures for communication, support and review that managers can apply during this difficult time.
  • Debriefing after the death of a service user is a useful way for staff to process what has happened and get support from their peers.

Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP)

Bringing together organisations that are involved in delivering suicide bereavement support

SASP is a UK-wide network of over 113 members, founded in 2013, to bring together national and local organisations that are involved in delivering suicide bereavement support across the UK, and to address the need for formal, multi-agency, proactive suicide bereavement support.

SASP's vision is that everyone bereaved or affected by suicide should be offered timely and appropriate support. In order to do this, they want to reach organisations that provide support to minority and marginalised groups who can be/are disproportionately affected by suicide such as those experiencing homelessness.

To find out more about their free membership, which includes monthly newsletters, members meetings, and access to webinars and events, email: info@supportaftersuicide.org.uk

Video: How to support and debrief staff following a death by suicide.

This 35 minute video from EASL explains how you can support staff following an incident where a client or someone known to a homelessness service has committed suicide.

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