We are an alliance of over 1000 public, private, voluntary and community organisations in England who care about suicide prevention and are willing to take action to reduce suicide and support those affected by suicide.
Who we are
The NSPA’s vision is that fewer lives are lost to suicide and anyone affected by suicide receives the best possible support.
Our mission is to get all parts of society working together to take action to reduce suicide and improve the support for those bereaved by suicide.
The NSPA and our history
The NSPA was formally constituted in September 2013 but originally evolved from the Call to Action for Suicide Prevention launched in July 2011.
A Call to Action
Suicide continues to be a major public health issue, with more than 4,000 people dying in England by suicide each year. Death by suicide is an individual tragedy, and also can have a devastating effect on families and communities.
Part of the difficulty of preventing suicide is that there are so many factors that can contribute to suicidal behaviour, and for this reason there is a need for a cross-sector approach. In order to reduce death by suicide, as well as reduce suicidal feelings and suicidal behaviour, we need collaboration, coordination and action from many stakeholders across all sectors.
For this reason Samaritans, with a grant award from the Department of Health, launched a ‘Call to Action for Suicide Prevention’ in July 2011.
The launch event held in London was attended by (amongst others), former Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP and the Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, Professor Louis Appleby. The launch of the Call to Action coincided with the Government’s consultation on a new national outcomes strategy for suicide prevention in England, and recognised the need to join up the efforts from many organisations and agencies across sectors if we are to achieve a reduction in suicidal feelings and behaviour and deaths by suicide.
The Call to Action emphasised a co-ordinated approach from Government, public services, voluntary groups, the private sector and communities, in order to better support people at risk of suicide. It mobilised organisations from across sectors, identifying shared priorities and highlighting key areas for action.
Through a series of workshops and events, the Call to Action culminated in the development of the ‘Call to Action Declaration’, that was jointly launched with the Government’s new National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England. The launch took place on World Suicide Prevention Day, 10th September 2012, at a House of Commons reception hosted by the Minister of State for Care and Support Services, Norman Lamb MP.
Following successful collaboration between partners in the development and launch of the Call to Action Declaration, members confirmed they wanted to continue as a standing alliance of organisations, committed to reducing suicide and progressing the shared aims identified via the Call to Action.
This standing alliance is what is now the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.
The difference we aim to make
We aim to work together with our network of organisations and individuals to bring about the following outcomes:
- Reducing stigma: We want all parts of society talking about suicide and taking action to maintain good mental health, so that it is as normal as talking about and maintaining physical health.
- Encouraging help-seeking: We want more people who are experiencing emotional distress to seek help before they become suicidal.
- Providing the appropriate support: We want to ensure that when people in emotional distress seek help, they receive appropriate support from the people or organisations they approach and that they are offered appropriate options.
- Reducing access to means: We want it to be harder for people experiencing severe emotional distress to have access to the means to take their own life.
- Reducing the impact of suicide: We want to ensure that people affected by suicide get the support they need to cope with the impact on their life.
- Improving data & evidence: We want there to be better official data about suicide in England and more evidence about effective suicide prevention. Those working in suicide prevention should find it easier to obtain this data and evidence.
- Working together: We want organisations with an interest in suicide prevention collaborating with each other to make a bigger difference.
How we work
The NSPA believes that everyone has a role to play in reducing suicide and supporting those affected by suicide. It seeks to demonstrate this by bringing together organisations from across the public, private and voluntary and community sectors that are willing to take action.
As a membership organisation, the alliance seeks to facilitate the development and sharing of good practice, as well as encourage the collaboration and joint working of members in order to affect real change in this area.
You can read more about the NSPA’s priorities for 2019-21 in our Strategic Framework which has been developed in consultation with the NSPA Steering Group and incorporates input from the wider membership.
The NSPA is governed by a Steering Group, led by two Co-Chairs and operates according to agreed Terms of Reference
As a cross-sector alliance with a wide variety of member organisations, it is essential that the NSPA and the work it undertakes represents the views and collective values of its membership.
The most up to date version of the NSPA’s Terms of Reference can be found here.
Penny has a wealth of experience having been a trainer, campaigner and project manager working across a range of projects to improve well-being. Previously, she also spent five years volunteering within suicide prevention. Penny established a new reading for well being programme in London for The Reader, which she grew from nothing to a team of 9 staff, over 200 volunteers and nearly a quarter of a million pounds of funding. She’s worked with a range of partners including mental health trusts, local councils, and community organisations across settings such as libraries, prisons, and homeless hostels.
Jess is passionate about amplifying the voice(s) of people with lived experience of suicide to influence suicide prevention services and strategy. She has spent the past 14 years working in the social care and voluntary sector, and has her own personal experience of living with suicidal thoughts, self harm and of using mental health services.
Prior to joining the NSPA, Jess spent 7 years working for national mental health charity, Together for Mental Wellbeing, in various roles, including Peer Support Practice Manager and Lived Experience Leadership Manager.
Her time at Together included developing organisational approaches to service user leadership and peer support, and overseeing the development of 18 local peer support services across community, residential and criminal justice settings. She has developed and run numerous lived experience-led training programmes and has collaborated across the voluntary sector and the NHS to promote good practice in lived experience involvement, leadership and peer support.
Juliette has worked in the charity sector for the past 15 years in a variety of fundraising and marketing roles, most recently at Shooting Star Chase as Supporter Care Manager, where she was responsible for setting up a new team, building supporter relationships and navigating new fundraising regulation. She has also worked at Suzy Lamplugh Trust, VSO and Age UK.
Heather has worked in communications for 13 years and has led communications and marketing activity across a range of organisations in the private, public and charitable sector. Most recently, Heather worked for Bracknell Forest Council as Communications and Marketing Officer, where she was responsible for the communications and marketing activity for adult and children’s social care, health and housing services. She has also worked at Macmillan Cancer Support and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
The Steering Group
Bournemouth University – Ann Luce
Ann Luce has been working in the area of suicide prevention for nearly 15 years, researching in the area of media. She sits on the International Association of Suicide Prevention World Media Task Force for the prevention of suicide, where she has co-written two sets of media guidelines for the World Health Organisation. She has also written blogging guidelines for Save.org in the United States. She has consulted with the Australian government and contributed to guidelines for young people on how best they can safely talk about suicide online and on social media. Closer to home, her research helped inform the creation of Wales’ first suicide prevention strategy back in 2008, and she continues to advise the Welsh Assembly on how to better its suicide prevention strategy. In Dorset, she is the research lead and media lead on the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group working on the Pan-Dorset Suicide Prevention Strategy.
Department of Health and Social Care – Gareth Owen
The Department of Health and Social Care leads the cross government work on the national suicide prevention strategy. The Department acts as secretariat to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, and funds the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.
Derbyshire County Council – Dr Sohrab Panday
Sohrab Panday is a General Practitioner at Clay Cross Medical Centre, Derbyshire and Clinical Lead, Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group. He is an experienced General Practitioner with a passion for mental health and suicide prevention. He believes all NHS Staff should be routinely trained in suicide prevention and that a culture change towards compassion for ourselves, our colleagues and patients is vital to achieve this aim.
Sohrab worked in a large city practice in Peterborough for 22 years and in 2010 began clinical commissioning and chaired the Cambridgeshire Suicide Prevention Group. In 2013 he relocated to Derbyshire where he was able to continue both clinical and commissioning roles in Mental Health for Derby and Derbyshire CCG. He was Clinical Lead for the East Midlands Clinical Network (NHS England) from 2014-18, improving the physical health of people with serious mental illness via networking and sharing best practice.
Like so many of his GP colleagues, Sohrab has seen and even experienced the trauma that inevitably follows the suicides of patients, friends and colleagues. He is also acutely aware of the lack of training and support available to primary care staff in suicide prevention. In Cambridgeshire he commissioned the Third Sector to implement a successful awareness campaign which went on to win the Mental Health Voluntary Sector Awards in 2015. In Derbyshire he is currently leading a group of GP Suicide Prevention Trainers who are commissioned via the Suicide Prevention Forum led by Derbyshire County Council. Their aim is to systematically train the entire clinical and nonclinical primary care workforce in Derbyshire; they have trained over 500 staff to date using their practice based, face to face, peer to peer approach (Finalist HSJ Award for Primary Care Innovation December 2018).
East Midlands Suicide Prevention Research – Keith Waters
Keith was a Clinical Nurse Specialist with over 25 years’ experience working with self-harm and associated presentations to an Acute Hospital. He is the Principal Investigator for Derby’s part of the multicentre self-harm study, an Honorary Research Fellow and Director for the Centre of Self-harm and Suicide Prevention research at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Independent suicide prevention consultant and trainer – Miranda Frost
Miranda has worked in mental health related services as a front line worker, service manager and trainer for over 20 years and specifically in suicide prevention for over 10 years. Miranda had a social work background and was former Service Manager for Mind in Brighton & Hove’s Advice and Information and Service User Involvement Services. Previously she worked extensively with survivors of sexual abuse and people with lived experience of suicide and mental ill health.
Miranda is a founding member and former CEO of Grassroots Suicide Prevention, where she took the lead on Strategy and Operations and is an active member of both the Brighton and Hove and East Sussex Suicide Prevention Strategy Group and related work streams. Miranda is an ASIST Trainer, ASIST Consulting Trainer, safeTALK and mental health trainer.
Kent County Council – Tim Woodhouse
Tim is the Kent and Medway STP Suicide Prevention Programme Manager (based in Kent County Council’s Public Health team). For the last five years he has coordinated the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Multi-Agency Steering Group which includes a variety of agencies, charities and individuals affected by suicide.
With his team, Tim designed and implemented the innovative Release the Pressure campaign, which aims to reduce the number of suicides in Kent by encouraging anyone who is feeling under pressure to phone a free-phone helpline (with trained staff available 24 hours a day 7 days a week). www.releasethepressure.uk
Lived experience representative – Liz Slinn
Liz Slinn lives in Winchester, Hampshire. She was bereaved by the suicide of her daughter, Philippa, in 2015 and has since tried to make a difference on the suicide prevention and bereavement agenda as part of the long journey. She is the PLE member of Hampshire CC Suicide Prevention Forum.
Liz was previously an NHS manager for thirty three years, her last job being as CEO of a Surrey Primary Care Trust from which she retired in 2005. She has been reading theology since retirement and is currently studying for a Doctorate in Theology and Practice at the University of Winchester. She is married to Mike and has two other children plus step children and grandchildren. She is looking forward to serving with the NSPA and contributing to the important work the Alliance does.
PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide – Ged Flynn
Ged Flynn is Chief Executive of national charity, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, an organisation founded in 1997 by parents who had lost children and young people to suicide. He has worked in the third sector for over 25 years, having studied theology and philosophy in Durham and later psychology and leadership in Dublin. He is particularly interested in grief management.
Ged represents PAPYRUS on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group in England and its equivalent body in Wales. He is also a Master Trainer in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
Ged lost his cousin to suicide some years ago. This seemed to the family to be ‘out of the blue’ as are many of the suicides which the parents and families and friends who become part of PAPYRUS experience. Ged is keen to reduce stigma at all levels and to help demystify and demythologise mental ill health, having suffered with anxiety and depression himself over several years.
Public Health England – Tammy Coles
Tammy is the National Programme Manager – Public Mental Health at Public Health England. She is very proud of her nursing background; while working as a nurse she was exposed to the impact upon people’s health and wellbeing caused by what she now recognises as health inequalities – those unjust and avoidable differences in people’s health across populations. This quest to make a difference to the most vulnerable led her to work in public health.
With over 25 years’ experience Tammy has worked across the NHS, Local Authority and the voluntary sector. She has led on several projects aimed at reducing alcohol related harm, including making the case for and commissioning an award-winning service which works with alcohol dependent individuals who also have Long Term Conditions. She managed the re-design of a recovery focussed substance misuse service which builds on the assets of the individual – those skills, knowledge, connections and potential they possess. She has an interest in the value of mutual aid and peer to peer support.
She has always had an interest in mental health, from both a personal and professional perspective. She is particularly keen on ensuring that those living with or experiencing mental health issues, their families and carers have a voice.
Tammy is a Technical Advisor to the WHO Collaborating Centre for public health nursing and midwifery.
Rethink Mental Illness – Brian Dow ( NSPA Co-Chair)
Brian joined Rethink Mental Illness in November 2014 having spent the previous fifteen years working for a range of well-known charities including Shelter, RNID and, most recently, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Prior to that he was a broadcast journalist working with both the BBC and the commercial radio sector. In addition he is Chief Executive of Mental Health UK, an alliance of four charities across the UK.
Brian has family experience of suicide and is interested in advancing our understanding of the connection between mental ill health and suicide.
Samaritans – Jacqui Morrissey (NSPA Co-Chair)
Jacqui joined Samaritans in 2014 and is Assistant Director for its Research and Influencing work, with over twenty years’ experience in the voluntary sector working to improve the lives of vulnerable people. Jacqui is responsible for Samaritans policy, public affairs and campaigning work, striving to ensure that fewer people die by suicide. Jacqui also leads Samaritan’s research and evaluation work, putting in place a new research strategy in 2017. She has led on the development of recent publications including NSPA and PHE’s suicide prevention planning guidance for local authorities and Samaritans’ Dying from Inequality report. Samaritans is pleased to host the NSPA and proud to be its Co-Chair.
Support After Suicide Partnership – Fergus Crow
The Support After Suicide Partnership is a special interest group of the NSPA, and is a network of organisations that support people who have been bereaved or affected by suicide.