A monthly peer-support group has been set up for people across North Somerset who have been impacted by suicide.

The group, which meets in Weston-super-Mare on the first Tuesday evening of each month, is run by Pete’s Dragons – an award-winning charity specialising in suicide bereavement.

According to the House of Commons Library, there were 6,319 deaths registered in Great Britain where the cause was recorded as suicide in 2021. This is a worrying statistic, and there is support for people who have been impacted.

Cllr Mike Bell, Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council and Executive Member for Health, stresses that the sessions are relaxed and pressure-free: “I’m really pleased we’re working with Pete’s Dragons and that residents here in North Somerset will benefit from their specialist support.

There’s no need to disclose or share anything you don’t want to."

Pete’s Dragons set up a similar peer support group in North Somerset earlier this year.

Karen, one of the people who attended a peer support group in Devon, explained how people in North Somerset will benefit from the group and how, once they are there, the group can provide a structure of emotional support:

“Attending my first peer support group was so helpful. The hardest part was persuading myself just to show up and give it a try.

“Simply being with other people who have also been bereaved by suicide gave me a feeling of deep understanding and connection with people I had never met before and without having to explain anything at all.

"Just try it and see how it feels for you.

“Everyone is friendly and relaxed, there are no formal structures and there is never any need to disclose anything. Everyone knows that we have all been bereaved by suicide. We might talk about what’s on TV, the football, plans for the weekend, a forthcoming birthday. We might talk about the person we have lost. We might not. It just depends and that’s such a good thing. The group is very well supported and very supportive of each other. The main feeling is one of great kindness and understanding.”

Anyone who would like to find out more or attend the group can contact Pete’s Dragons on 01395 277 780 or email support@petesdragons.org.uk.