Letter of Hope

Posted on 8th December, 2015

A group of people with lived experience have written a Letter of Hope to support those who may be thinking about taking their own lives. The idea was prompted by an initiative in the United States and members of the group believe that the letter can and will save lives. The Letter of Hope was recently presented at regional meetings aimed at suicide prevention, and feedback is now being sought from our staff and people using services before it is made available more widely across the organisation. Caroline Nicholson from Recovery Devon, a member of the group, says: "We know from similar projects elsewhere in the world that something as simple as this Letter of Hope can have a positive impact upon people who are contemplating taking their own life. A simple message about holding on to hope can be incredibly powerful. Our working group included survivors of suicide as well as those affected by the loss of someone who had taken their own life. We wanted to write a Letter of Hope to those who might be thinking about taking their own life and to ask them to hold on just a little longer; to give themselves time. The letter is the result of many months of work striving to find the right words that might help someone in their darkest moments. For many of us, writing the letter has been a very emotional experience, but we are pleased with the final draft and are confident that it has the potential to help people and save lives." Talking about the next steps with the Letter of Hope initiative, Dominic said: “We are keen to do everything we can to see the letter being used wherever it might help people, and will shortly be trialling it in a number of different settings within our organisation.  We will measure the outcomes of these pilots before rolling-out the letter more widely. At this stage, we would very much welcome feedback from staff and people using services about what they think of the letter at first reading, if they find it helpful, and where they can see the letter being used. "The content of the letter has been agreed between the members of the group, but we are also keen to hear ideas about the formats the letter might take so that it can be tailored to different settings, and so that people can refer to it quickly and easily. For example we are already thinking about a version that people can use on their mobile phones. We would also be glad to hear from teams who would like to be involved in piloting the letter in their locality or ward. We are encouraging everyone to share their feedback and ideas with us so that we can make a real difference to the lives of people who may be contemplating suicide." Read the Letter of Hope here To give feedback about the Letter of Hope, or for more information, please contact Dominic on dominicrousseau@nhs.net or 07860 776485 or Caroline at caroline.nicholson@nhs.net or on 01392 677067. Thank you.