Council support network to prevent suicide

A SUPPORT network could be set up to help Angus people who are affected by the tragedy of suicide.

The proposals were considered at a meeting of Angus Council’s social work and health committee on Thursday.

The proposed service would aim to prevent suicide in the local area by supporting families and friends of people who live with chronic thoughts of suicide, or who may have attempted suicide. The proposal is part of Choose Life - a national strategy to prevent suicide in Scotland launched in 2002 -  with which Dundee and Angus are involved locally.

The setting up of such a local support service was one of the proposals put forward by the joint Angus and Dundee steering group.

Convener of social work and health, Councillor Glennis Middleton said: “Suicide is a tragedy which can affect, for many years to come, the families and friends of the person who took their own life. 

“Any means we have to prevent such tragedies occurring should be considered, and this proposed network will give meaningful and ongoing support and advice to those who have a friend or relative at risk of suicide.”

The committee agreed to a procurement exercise to provide the community support network.

At the same committee meeting, members also agreed to consider a full supported lodgings scheme to help young people leaving care make an easier transition to independent living.

They noted that a pilot scheme was set up in October to recruit people able to provide accommodation and some support to young people leaving care.

It is expected that four supported lodging providers (SLP) will be recruited to start the scheme and placements will be made early in 2013.

Councillor Middleton explained: “This scheme will be on a small scale but will help some young people to make the move from being in care to living independently.

“We hope that by giving them support it will pay dividends longer term, such as sustaining their future tenancies, and making better use of employment, education and training opportunities.”

She added: “The pilot project will be evaluated after 12 months and depending on the level of demand and the success of the scheme, we may need to increase the number of providers.”

The SLPs will be paid £150 per week while they have a young lodger staying with them, with a further contribution of £30 towards food and other expenses from the lodger.