OUR STORY

Chris’s House was founded by Anne Rowan, a Wishaw mum with a passionate vision for a crisis centre established in memory of her son Chris, whom she lost to suicide in 2011 at the age of 36. In the years following Chris’s death, Anne experienced an overwhelming sense of guilt. Her hair fell out, she lost her balance and couldn’t go out unaided.

She turned her attention to taking action – through the creation of Chris’s House, a ‘Centre for Help, Response and Intervention Surrounding Suicide’. It is the first 24 hour, non-medical crisis centre in Scotland offering integrated support. The cosy rooms have each been carefully designed to offer guests an environment they can feel comfortable in. The generosity of families that have been touched by the work Chris’s House have accomplished have raised the funds or made donations to allow for the space offer calm and wellbeing.

Anne remains an active and passionate leader of Chris’s House she is adamant that the focus not remain solely on her efforts. She is joined in this mission to help bring awareness to mental ill health with more than 60+ volunteers. Each have been touched in some way by suicide and understand the on-going ripple effects that it has on family, friends and the community. 

WHAT IS CHRIS’S HOUSE?

Chris’s House stands for ‘Centre of Help, Response and Intervention Surrounding Suicide’ and has been set up to offer a safe environment where people in, or approaching, suicidal crisis can have a safe place to go and get professional support.  This will help them to begin to recover from their current mental ill health.  At Chris’s House we call anyone using our service a “Guest” and we offer an individually tailored programme for each Guest. 

Our guests will be assigned to a volunteer who will develop a strong rapport to help them through the crisis and support them to counter depression, negative and despairing thoughts and exchange reasons for dying with reasons for living. We truly listen to our guests and offer them appropriate therapies to aid them in their recovery journey.  We will work in partnership with other established agencies to offer the best possible ongoing care. 

Our motto: “Lets talk”

Our Volunteers:
We now have 60+ trained volunteers who come from various professional and life experience backgrounds.  They will provide one to one support, including therapies; such as Counselling;Reiki; Havening and peer to peer.  We also offer group support and have Mens and Womens self help groups. CBT; Art and Meditation Groups  These support groups offer our Guests the opportunity to continue their own personal developmentOur volunteers are all trained in suicide intervention and as individuals offer the warmest and most compassionate approach to caring for others 

They fully understand that confidentiality and the provision of a safe and welcoming environment is of the utmost importance.  

We also believe that within our community we all need each other in many ways for our collective wellbeing, especially when we are at a low point in our life. Our Chris’s House community will, through our volunteer group, reach out to the wider community and make a difference not only to each others’ lives but for those who come into contact with Chris’s House in their time of need. 

COMPLICATED GRIEF

“Christopher experienced traumatic events in the April of 2011 losing both his cousin and friend” Anne recalls. “It was shocking, a grenade into our family within 16 weeks we had lost Christopher. We never noticed how bad Christopher was because we were all in deep grief and shock from his cousin’s death.” 

Christopher sought help from the doctor as he struggled to come to terms with these Traumatic losseshe was prescribed medication and told to return in three months with the Doctor hoping this would help lift his mood’ an appointment he would never keep. 

Anne admits she became a “complete wreck” in the years following after Christopher’s death before her life started to turn around when she made contact with the Irish charity Pieta, a crisis centre for self-harm and suicide. She learned about their Darkness into Light 5k walks that take place from darkness into the light of sunrise and managed to bring the event to Scotland for the first time in 2015, the Walk continues to grow to this day. 

It’s hard to cling to any sliver of hope in the weeks and months after a suicide.  Grief takes a firm hold as darkness descends on the family and friends left behind as they struggle to come to terms with their loss. It’s a deeply personal process and you can often feel like the loneliest person in the world, as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. 

Chris’s House offer Postvention support to those bereveaved by suicide.  This can be on a 1-1 basis on through our Loss Surrounding Suicide Support Group 

We believe it is even more important, in that it offers those who are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, a chance to meet the only people who truly understand the kind of pain they are going through. 

Nobody knows this more than Anne Rowan, the founder of Chris’s House, who has created a diamond in the area of North Lanarkshire offering support to people all over Scotland with the service constantly progression all this is being done without core funding. 

Kevin McALLION, CHRIS’S HOUSE .
Full article available here.

OUR AIMS

EVERY MOMENT COUNTS

We have had a further 238 people physically use our service in last year (attending for more than one counselling/therapy visit.

We have dealt with an average of 70 guests in crisis telephone calls per month and an average of 14 crisis calls “out of hours” per month.

We have received and responded to an average of 58 social media contacts per month of which 60% relate to people in crisis and the remaining 40% with outreach/community contacts to us for training, joint work and general information.

We have connected with almost 350 individuals to challenge stigma through our schools, college and youth organisations awareness raising sessions.

We have expanded our social media outreach with weekly information-awareness raising posts reaching in excess of 30 000 shares and a page following of 6 000. We also collate service feedback from comments and messages.

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