SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has announced the launch of a specialist support group for military families coping with the aftermath of suicide.

The service for families and friends affected by the suicide of a loved one comes in the wake of statistics revealing that 42 military personnel and veterans have taken their own lives since January 2018.

SSAFA has this year reported an 11.26 per cent increase in calls to Forcesline, a free and confidential helpline, from individuals linked to the Forces facing negative, sometimes suicidal, thoughts.

In an ongoing commitment to adapt to the needs of the modern Armed Forces community, the charity recognised that a loved one taking their own life requires a specific type of bereavement support – different from that following a death during conflict or after an accident.

SSAFA’s new support group will give individuals the opportunity to share experiences, information, advice and a chance to meet others in the same position. The first group will meet in early 2019 and is open to anyone in the family unit affected by this type of loss.

Chief executive Sir Andrew Gregory said: “It is absolutely correct that a spotlight is being shone onto this issue, the shadow of grief from losing a loved one in this way can last a lifetime.

“It is a priority for SSAFA to support those left behind if a member of the military community takes their own life. This is as devastating a loss as any other, and it’s our duty to help where we can with the processing of this grief.

“SSAFA will remain on the frontline of support for all members of the Forces family, whenever and however they need us.”

To sign up for the support group, visit ssafa.org.uk/help-you/currently-serving/family-support-groups

If you are a member of the Armed Forces, veteran or a family member in need, contact Forcesline on 0800 731 4880.

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