Positive steps are being taken to prevent suicides at Bedford Prison, with special events to mark World Suicide Prevention Day this week.
The series of events, which begin on Sunday, are being lead by the prison chaplaincy team, who believes that the events will help prisoners come to terms with their own pasts.
The prison’s coordinating chaplain, Sharon Grenham-Toze said: “We recognise that suicide and self-harm is, sadly, something that does happen in a prison environment.
“People who come into prison are often vulnerable, with complex needs and problems, and a very small minority find the situation impossible to cope with. “It’s also true that some people, whether in jail or not, experience the tragic loss of a loved one through suicide.
“So we want to do all that we can to provide help and support for the men who come into Bedford prison.”
She added: “I wouldn’t say suicide is common, but we do have 5,000 men coming through the doors of the prison every year.
“But it is a sad reality that in prison you do have people that are vulnerable and in crisis, and people who have troubled backgrounds, all of this raises the likelihood.”
On Sunday Sharon will lead a service in the prison chapel, during which anyone who has lost a loved one due to suicide can say some prayers and light a candle in their memory.
And on Monday, which is World Suicide Prevention Day, the prison team will set up remembrance boards around the jail so that prisoners and staff can leave a message for someone they know who has died.
Throughout the year Bedford prison works in conjunction with the Samaritans and prisoners have access to their support. Some inmates are also trained by the charity to offer peer support to fellow prisoners and bereavement counselling is also available.
As well as this all members of staff are trained to recognise signs of vulnerability, and the chaplaincy team provide spiritual support for members of all faiths.
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Weather for Bedford
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South west