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Children who lose Parents to Suicide

Volume 717: debated on Monday 4 July 2022

Losing a parent to suicide is a devastating loss for any child. Our covid response provided additional information to schools on supporting pupils with bereavement, drawing on specialist provision where necessary. Senior mental health lead training will help schools to include this in their pastoral support. We are also expanding specialist mental health support, backed by an extra £2.3 billion per year.

I was really disturbed to learn recently that there is evidence to suggest that children who lose a parent to suicide have a much greater risk of going on to take their own life as they grow older. With that in mind, I really want to put this on to the Minister’s radar and ask whether any particular suicide bereavement training, resources or signposting is provided to the staff who work in education settings to help them to support children effectively after they lose a family member such as a parent or sibling to suicide.

I thank my hon. Friend for bringing this to my attention. It is indeed a worrying state of affairs. Senior mental health lead training, which is backed by an additional £10 million this year, supports schools to establish a whole-school approach to mental health and mental wellbeing and provide a supportive environment for children experiencing bereavement. This will also include how to identify where staff need further training to understand children’s needs and offer support. However, I understand that we probably need to go further in this area, and of course I would be happy to meet her to discuss it at greater length.