Families coping with a shocking death need more help

Families and communities stunned by a sudden death or suicide need more help to cope with the shock and grief, says a councillor.

By Lucy Ashton
Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 1:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 4:37 pm
Coun Jackie Drayton
Coun Jackie Drayton

Coun Jackie Drayton says not enough money is being spent on bereavement support and women in communities are the ones who take the lead and provide support.

Her comments came as the Sheffield health and wellbeing board discussed more support for people nearing the end of life.

Coun Drayton said: “Often people have plans when they are getting older but sometimes it’s a sudden or shocking death and there’s a need to support families and communities with bereavement. We should think about whether we need to put more resources into that.

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“Suicide is not in the normal rhythm of life and we need to help families and communities work through their anger and come to terms with it. Not enough money is being spent on bereavement support, especially in this area.

“Women in communities help when there is a death, we do what we need to do. Mums come together to support each other.

“When three young men got shot agencies came in but it was the women who came together and supported each other. You need extra support and funding to make sure that keeps going.”

Dr Eleanor Rutter said there needed to be more conversations as a society.

“I was sitting on a bench watching my little girl play football and it was for a child who died at 14. There was a beautifully kept area of flowers and that death was 10 years ago but somebody was bothered and had passion and that’s the community but that’s not heard. Death is normal so what conversations do we have? This is a civic approach.”

Mandy Desfarges, chief executive of Voluntary Action Sheffield, said communities needed help.

“This conversation is about systems and hospitals and data but the reality is looking at the people who are left and how we can support them and that’s certainly not a clinical intervention.

“When people have a big family around them, that kicks in but if people haven’t, what can we do in the city to help?

“Sheffield is really good at developing resilient communities and people respond to sudden and unexpected deaths. This doesn’t happen with magic fairy dust but enabling people to respond.”