Renfrewshire’s annual memorial service to those who have lost their lives to suicide has been held, with more than 120 people paying their respects.
Local support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) hosted the short service on Thursday 24 January at Renfrewshire House, which was led by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron.
There was a set of readings by Reverend Alan Birss and Father John Eagers, before Choose Life’s Rosemary Mullan read a poignant poem.
The service was followed by a procession to the memorial tree where Provost Cameron laid a commemorative wreath and people were able to place a purple heart onto the tree with a message to a loved one that had been lost.
Anyone unable to attend the service who wishes a message to be placed onto the tree can visit the council reception at any time to collect a commemorative heart to be placed on the tree.
Provost Cameron, who helped establish the memorial tree in 2010, said: “This service provides a chance for those who have lost a loved one to grieve, remember and celebrate the person.
“In many ways, it is sad to see the turnout growing at the service each year, but hopefully it shows the taboo around suicide is fading and people are seeking an outlet for support or a chance to remember who they have lost.
“If you have been affected by suicide in any manner, please get in touch with the Choose Life team. They are available for a chat and can provide you with the support you, or a friend or family member, needs to move forward.”
The memorial tree was first dedicated in 2010 as a permanent memorial to those who have died through suicide and is believed to have been the first of its kind in Scotland.
The service aims to provide an opportunity to remember those who have been lost while providing an arm of support to the survivors. It is an opportunity to connect with others who have faced similar situations.
If you are feeling suicidal, or you know someone that might be then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0500 829 093
For more information contact the Choose Life Team on 0141 849 2200 or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/sobs.