VOLUNTEERS are needed to support people affected by suicide.

More than 50 people from Halton, St Helens and Warrington took their own life in 2009 and 2010 and a new scheme hopes to support those dealing with the loss of a loved one.

The partnership between the NHS, the Health Improvement Team and the charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide will launch the group in April and invite residents to attend a monthly self-help group for emotional and practical support.

Andrew Perkins specialises in suicide prevention and risk for the NHS Health Improvement Team.

He said: “It is estimated that around six people are deeply affected by each suicide.

“We know however that many more people are affected in some way by the tragic and sudden loss of someone they’ve loved, known or cared about.”

The group offers support through a confidential telephone helpline, e-mail, residential events and group meetings.

Mr Perkins added: “Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide is a unique organisation, many of the volunteers who help run the charity have themselves been bereaved by suicide.

“They help provide a safe and confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, give support and gain support from each other.”

Call 01744 457297 or e-mail Andrew.Perkins@hsthpct.nhs.uk.