The Community Resilience Team were contacted by a local Mother Kelly in 2018 who wished to set up a support group for parents of children who had attempted suicide or self-harmed. Sharing her own experiences as a parent, Kelly said that she had been left feeling alone and unsupported at a difficult time and felt that there had been limited support available to her. She had a passion to ensure that no one else in a similar position felt the same and felt that it was important for a support group for parents in the city to be established. The idea behind the group was the parents could meet in a safe space to share feelings and speak openly about how they are supporting their children as best as possible by discussing their experiences.

The Community Resilience Team supported Kelly with how to set up a group, governance and how and where to advertise. The team suggested that this was rolled out slowly and to talk to organisations such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) and linked her in with a local Vicar with a passion for mental health support and some experience of services through a previous career as a mental health nurse.

The team advised Kelly of good opportunities to promote her group and make new connections to help her launch the group. Attending these events enabled her to network and find out about other groups in Coventry, she gained skills in applying for funding and was awarded funding from the Active Citizens Fund. The money awarded, enabled her to produce publicity material which enabled Anchor to launch in the city. 

Anchor now go into local schools and raise awareness of self-harm and its effects. They run a peer support group for parents and carers of self-harmers and those who have attempted suicide – this group meets monthly. Anchor has also built relationships with others providing crossover services such as SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) and Papyrus (a young suicide prevention charity).

Over the last few years Kelly’s confidence has significantly grown with running this group, and she felt confident to represent the third sector at the Arm’s Length event where national lead policymakers visited Coventry in order to understand the positive action small organisations on the ground make, what matters to them and hopefully influence future policymaking. At this event, Kelly was able to demonstrate the importance of her group and how it supports parents across the city.

Anchor has more recently been supported by CRT to apply for £6,145 to pilot wellbeing sessions for both young people and their parents/carers. The idea is that in different parts of the same building, simultaneously, parents are enjoying yoga and relaxation while their children are being helped with relaxation and coping strategies. Both groups are then brought together and share their experiences at the end of the session.