Family liaison officers offer support when it is most needed

Bereaved families have been working with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) to ensure there is even more support available to people who have been affected by a mental health-related death.

In response to feedback from families impacted by serious incidents or bereavement, the Trust has appointed Ian Orr and Kirk Wilson as family liaison officers.

Their aim is to ensure families feel heard, informed and safely supported through distressing and difficult times. They will also support NSFT staff to make sure they feel equipped and able to support families who have been affected by truly traumatic experiences.

Ian, a mental health nurse and systemic practitioner, started as a clinical support worker at NSFT and has more than a decade of experience in mental health services. Kirk has been a police family liaison officer since 2008 and also trained family liaison officers for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary.

Kirk said the pair would work well together. “We bring experience and knowledge from both sides of the coin – mental health and police expertise.”

Ian said: “This will enable us to offer understanding to those we support and to tackle the difficult challenges this role will bring.”

Robyn Ward, head of carers’ participation, and experience at NSFT said: “We are dedicated to evolving into a safer, more compassionate and improved organisation that learns from deaths and listens to experiences from our local communities.

“Ian and Kirk are providing crucial support to families and carers affected by tragedy. A key aspect and unique part of the role is participation – welcoming and supporting those affected to work with us on our improvement journey, if and whenever they feel able to.”