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.
David has worked in the charity sector for most of his career. He has worked across many functions including project management, health promotion and advice in the HIV, respiratory and mental health sectors. Before joining NSPA, David also led the Service Redesign and Improvement Consultancy at Diabetes UK. Stakeholder engagement and a keen interest in improving well-being have been common threads throughout his 20-year career in the third sector.
Alison spent the early part of her career as a print journalist, before leading the marcomms activity across a range of third sector and NHS organisations.
Most recently, Alison was part of the communications team at the Police Federation of England and Wales, a membership organisation representing 130,000 police officers, where she led national campaigns and supported the board in seeking to influence legislative and policy changes at Westminster.
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.
The Steering Group
Lived Experience representative – Emma Williams
Emma is an NSPA Lived Experience Influencer with personal experiences of suicidal thoughts and behaviours, and of living with poor mental health since childhood.
Previously a practicing Chartered Civil Engineer, Emma now devotes her professional life to mental health anti-stigma work having experienced first-hand the positive difference that breaking the silence around the subject of mental illness can have, including suicide prevention.
Whether someone is experiencing mental illness or not, suicidal thoughts and behaviours can potentially affect us all, and stigma is a huge barrier to suicide prevention. Emma believes that by opening up the conversation about suicide prevention in a safe and purposeful way, together we can reduce the devastating impact of suicide on all our lives.
Lived Experience representative – Dennis Baldwin
Dennis Baldwin is the ‘Reach Out; Start to End Suicide’ Project Manager at ‘’Start’. ‘Start’ is a therapeutic creative arts and horticulture service in Salford.
Dennis has over 16 years’ project management and delivery experience within the third sector, within both primary and secondary health service settings. He is now leading the multiple award winning ‘Reach Out; Start to End Suicide’ campaign which commemorates those lost through suicide, builds resilience within our community, ends stigma and save lives being lost to suicide.
Dennis is a survivor of multiple suicide attempts and lives with anxiety and depression.
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
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.