Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) provides inpatient and community-based mental health care for people living in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire. We also provide specialist services extending throughout the south west.

We employ over 4,000 dedicated members of staff who deliver services from more than 90 locations, working in approximately 150 teams across a geographical region of 2,200 miles, for a population of approximately 1.8million people. We are passionate about promoting good mental health and wellbeing. We strive to use the expertise and resources within our organisation, and through our partnerships, to deliver high quality services that are safe and focused on people’s recovery. Our staff are pivotal in everything we do and we are committed to involving them fully in the development of the Trust and our services.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

We have a suicide prevention strategy and are members of the Zero Suicide Alliance. We’ve introduced mandatory suicide prevention awareness training for all staff, even those in non-clinical roles. Currently reviewing our other mandatory suicide prevention training. We publish our local suspected suicide data, as well as our suicide rate as determined by the NCISH. We have a Zero Suicide strategy.

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What are your current priorities?

Priorities are engaging staff with the Zero Suicide ambition messages – this is a challenge at times. Focus on people referred to services, but who following assessment, don’t meet the criteria for secondary care. Many of these people are discharged or ‘sign-posted’ to other services, but take their own life within weeks of this contact. There is a need for more ‘assertive sign-posting’ and an improved understanding that not requiring mental health services is not the same as not requiring emotional support and help.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Getting the above message out to staff – and modifying operational policies accordingly. Another challenge is convincing people that as a secondary care provider, we also have a primary suicide prevention role for those referred but not taken into service.

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