Mental Health Matters

Mental Health Matters is a national charity with over 35 years of experience in delivering high-quality mental health and social care services. We provide services in local communities across England, from Northumberland to Plymouth, led by a highly motivated and enthusiastic workforce who are committed to delivering the best quality services to those in need of support.

We believe that, with the right personalised support, anyone with a mental health need can live the life they want to live. It is our vision that everyone gets the personalised services and support they need. To make this vision a reality, our mission is to help people achieve good physical and mental wellbeing and live life to the full. We support more than 15,500 people every month to access treatment and achieve their recovery goals, through housing, employment, advocacy, crisis and peer support, plus therapy and counselling services. We also deliver mental health and wellbeing training to other organisations.

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

MHM provide a broad range of mental health services, and we believe that all play a role in contributing to the prevention of suicide. This includes support in the community for those living with severe and enduring mental illness as well as those suffering from depression and anxiety. We offer a range of support to help people live independently in the community, including the transition upon discharge from hospital. We also provide registered care services in the community for those requiring more complex support. Our mental health crisis and helpline services have a particular focus on those in immediate crisis, providing highly responsive support and helping people gain access to further help and treatment where appropriate. This includes risk assessment, risk management and planning.

Our services also support and work with family/carers/friends of those accessing our services. As a partner in local mental health pathways,

we collaborate proactively with health and social care providers to ensure people get the support they need to reduce the risk of and prevent suicide.

We deliver Suicide Awareness and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) training for our staff and to  a range of other organisations, with the aim of educating them to recognise those at risk of suicide and to have the confidence to respond and intervene appropriately.

What are your current priorities?

Our current priorities include articulating the challenges that face us in our suicide prevention work, in particular with some partner services and illustrating the consequent risks of lack of timely action.

We also have a focus on educating the agencies and wider public through expanding our training offer and delivering more ASIST training as appropriate.

We are also strengthening and extending our approach to delivering trauma informed services and continuing to deliver person-centred services which respond to the need of the individual. A further focus is ensuring access to services for those from diverse communities in light of national evidence of inequalities in access to mental health support services.

What challenges are you currently facing?

Unfortunately, the response we receive in some areas (when escalating cases of risk in terms of suicide) is inadequate. Of course, this varies from area to area and is sometimes even down to the individual who takes our call/referral. In particular there can be challenges with some police forces and crisis teams. Getting help to individuals can be inconsistent and slow. We of course appreciate that this is often about capacity.

In addition, some agencies fail to share information with us in a timely manner, which we need to support clients and or make judgements around their safety and support needed.