'You are not alone' with free Wellingborough-based suicide prevention service

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We Mind & Kelly Matters charity funds the staff to listen and chat

A Wellingborough-based charity, set up in memory of a much-loved daughter who took her own life, has launched a live text chat service for people in mental health crisis.

We Mind & Kelly Matters was founded in 2019, by the family of Kelly Hewitt, who died aged 23 after struggling with her mental health.

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To help others with suicidal thoughts the free service can be accessed by anyone with a smart phone.

Funded by an enormously successful bike ride from John O’Groats to Lands’ End last August, that raised more than £125,000, the charity's founders decided to expand their work with mental health and suicide prevention.

Earlier this month they launched a new website as a one-stop shop for their campaign to deliver training, counselling, support and education around mental health and suicide prevention.

Sherry Adams, CEO of We Mind & Kelly Matters, said: "Our mission is to reduce the number of suicides in Northamptonshire and ensure that any adult and young person can receive the support they need in a timely manner.

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"We have started an online live chat service five days a week that is available via phones and PC’s – similar to instant messaging - and backed up by a team of mental health professionals and counsellors.

Kelly HewittKelly Hewitt
Kelly Hewitt

"It has been going really well. Our live chat support is managed by real people, not chatbots, so a support worker is online whenever you see the 'Get Help Now' button on the right of your screen."

The support worker who is behind the chat can signpost users to other services including free counselling, delivered by experienced trained therapists.

Sherry, a qualified psychotherapist, said: "At the moment there is no waiting list. We can provide an assessment and give the counselling within weeks.Our counselling isn't just limited to six sessions we carry on.

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"January has been a difficult month with lockdown three, the dark and the cold along with job worries. There are on average 60 deaths by suicide each year in Northamptonshire and the impact of each one of those deaths affects so many people around them - family, friends, colleagues."

The service is initially available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6pm to 9pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 noon to 5pm with times being reviewed to accommodate people with different needs from young people, students and workers.

Messages from the people using the free service remain confidential unless chat support workers are concerned about a user's imminent safety with safeguarding a priority.

We Minds & Kelly Matters also offer a support service for any family bereaved by suicide.

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Sherry added: "I believe this sets us apart from any other organisation, knowing first-hand the lack of specific suicide-related resources in Northamptonshire.

"We will support anyone affected by suicide through to bereavement. This includes members of police, staff and members of the public that experience a suicide.

"Remember whatever you may be feeling right now, you are not alone."