Erewash Voluntary Action

Erewash Voluntary Action CVS works towards a caring and more inclusive society by developing and supporting individual and group voluntary action that responds to local community needs and wishes.

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

Erewash Voluntary Action hosts the Derbyshire Mental Health Forum. This project provides support to voluntary sector organisations working to improve the mental health of people in Derbyshire. Part of this work involves raising awareness around suicide prevention.

Erewash Voluntary Action are part of the Derbyshire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum, a multi-agency group that leads on work to reduce the number of, and impact from, suicides across the County. The forum is responsible for developing and implementing the Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework, and identifying local priorities.

Erewash Voluntary Action have recently been commissioned by Derbyshire County Council to deliver a mental health awareness and suicide prevention project. The project aims to:

– Increase awareness of mental health and wellbeing, self-harm and suicide prevention

– Promote a positive culture for mental health and wellbeing within organisations

– Support a reduction in male suicide rates across all ages, in particular middle aged-men

The project will focus on supporting specific groups and settings in Derby and Derbyshire including, but not exclusive to:

– Amateur football, rugby and cricket clubs

– Independent boxing gyms and fitness centres

– Workplaces, including routine and manual occupations, barbers, bookies, and pubs

The project has been created thanks to suicide prevention trailblazer funding, so a large part will be testing what approaches work best for particular groups and settings. To begin with the project aims to:

– Help organisations to access existing mental health and suicide prevention awareness training commissioned by Derbyshire County Council.

– Support organisations and clubs to create mental health policies and action plans to raise awareness and embed a positive wellbeing culture.

– Encourage organisations to sign up to national mental health charters and accreditations such as Sport and Recreation Mental Health Charter and become members of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.

– Signpost organisations to existing local and national mental health and suicide prevention/postvention toolkits.

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What are your current priorities?

We are working closely with local training providers to offer suicide prevention training to all our staff. We are also proactively promoting local and national suicide awareness and prevention resources such as Help is at Hand support guides, and ‘save this card’ z cards throughout our offices and wider networks.

Two project officers are in place to deliver the mental health and suicide prevention project. This work will help to raise awareness, offer guidance and support to targeted demographics and reduce male suicide rates throughout Derby and Derbyshire.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

COVID -19 has presented everyone with challenges. We know it has had a direct effect on people’s mental health, particularly in young people. A recent report from Public Health England (PHE) suggests more than half of 2,559 parents surveyed said the mental wellbeing of their children has been one of their biggest worries during the pandemic.

The research also suggests that COVID-19 has caused an increase in anxiety in young people, and a third of young people aged 8-24 reported being more worried, sad and stressed than before lockdown.

Many people find routine a source of comfort and purpose. Two things many of us have sadly had
removed in recent months. As we slowly return to a new normal there is still much uncertainty and reticence. Many of our projects have needed to make use of virtual communications and other COVID-19 restrictions. We are continuing to be creative and innovative in our approach to ensure our service users continue to receive the best possible service.

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