Amparo – Listening Ear’s pioneering service to support people who have been affected by suicide – has been awarded Best Practice Representative status by The Parliamentary Review.

The Parliamentary Review is a prestigious, apolitical publication, co-chaired by Lord Blunkett and Lord Pickles, who once sat on different sides of the House of Commons and now do so in the Lords.  Lord Pickles has stated that now more than ever it is “critical that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones” and the article from Listening Ear and Amparo is a great way of delivering that.

Although Amparo was originally set up to cover Cheshire and Merseyside, it is now delivered to a population of approximately 5 million people in places as far afield as South Yorkshire, East Lancashire, the Fylde Coast and Suffolk.

St Helens suicide memorial event, 2019

At its heart, Amparo aims to alleviate the distress of those exposed to or bereaved by suicide and to reduce the risk of imitative suicidal behaviour and suicide clusters. The economic cost of suicide is far greater than many would imagine: a single suicide is estimated to cost £1.67 million in terms of the impact on the wider health, social care and employment networks. Amparo therefore represent a cost-effective way to both support those affected by suicide and to reduce the costs of suicide to society.

Richard Brown, Listening Ear’s CEO, said “The service does not provide counselling.  We realised that counselling wasn’t always appropriate for those who had lost someone to suicide, but that statistics showed that nine per cent of people affected by suicide could go on to take their own lives. What was needed was a service that could intervene immediately once a suicide was notified, to work with those affected to ensure they were supported in their dealings with coroners, the police and, potentially, the media. In this way, family members, friends and work colleagues who had been affected could find a supported way to come to terms with what had happened.”

Richard said he was delighted that Amparo’s work had been recognised by The Review, adding “We’re proud that our Amparo staff work tirelessly to provide support time and time again. We’ve already worked with thousands of individuals and families and we receive regular enquiries from local authorities who want the service to be delivered in their area. It’s a real success story that this service is now being delivered by us in so many other places.”

Listening Ear and Amparo’s article can be viewed here: