ROFMH was set up following the suicide of a friend and colleague. I started to research into the support available for individuals feeling suicidal and was disgusted to find the enormous lack of services and the epidemic that is male suicide. Unfortunately 3 more men I knew of took their lives in the 16 months that followed.
Reach Out for Mental Health (ROFMH) is a not for profit Community Interest Company set up to support individuals in Essex who are feeling suicidal. It will run an out of hours drop-in service in Hardie Park, Stanford-le-Hope run by volunteer befrienders who are friendly, good listeners, non-judgmental, patient and genuinely want to make a positive difference to people in crisis in their community. It offers individuals space to talk with someone about how they are feeling and an opportunity to reflect and consider their intentions and other alternatives.
ROFMH’s work will concurrently have a strong focus on reducing the stigma of suicide, educate, inform and renovate beliefs and ideas about how to support those feeling suicidal and empower individuals to have the confidence to talk to those feeling suicidal. ROFMH will support those feeling suicidal in Essex but with increased funding, continued support from local authorities and CCG’s and partnership working with other like-minded organisations ROFMH can support people all across the Southeast and beyond. ROFMH will never charge individuals for this service, therefore generating an income to get the service in operation is cruicial.
Suicide is the biggest killer of males under the age of 45 and is the leading cause of death overall for people aged 20-34. One explanation as to why men are more likely to complete suicide rather than attempting is because they are less likely to be open about their feelings and therefore less likely to speak to a GP; statistics show that 72% of those who completed suicide in the years 2002-2010 had not been in contact with their GP about their mental health in the year before their suicide. Around three quarters of those who complete suicide are not involved with mental health services. For those feeling suicidal but unable to speak to their nearest and dearest, there is very little support available in the UK, not to mention in South Essex and neighbouring London boroughs. There are various telephone helplines such as Samaritans and Papyrus and even the UK’s only suicide sanctuary, Maytree (where I volunteer), which provides a 4 night stay for those feeling in need of a safe space. However there is no out of hours service in Essex for people who feeling suicidal.