We are a large further education community based college with over 14000 students and staff. We are the largest college in Teesside and offer a range of full and part-time courses, apprenticeships and university level courses.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
With us being such a large organisation we reach a large part of the local community both directly and indirectly so we play an essential role in this.
Suicide prevention is not the role of one person and requires a whole community approach.
We help to reduce risk by increasing protective factors for people such as social connectedness. The college is where both staff and students spend most of their days so it is important we raise awareness to reduce stigma. This is done in a variety of ways through both campaigns and education.
We offer support to those experiencing suicidal thoughts but also those affected by suicide and implement support.
What are your current priorities?
We have developed a Suicide Safe College Strategy which sets out a clear action plan in relation to Prevention, Intervention and Postvention.
Specific areas we are focusing on include:
Staff and student training to increase awareness around the subject and clear reporting mechanisms if staff suspect a student has suicidal thoughts.
Building resilience interventions including a new college social prescribing model
Addressing areas such as the cost of living crisis and gambling as we recognise the links between these factors and mental health.
Raising awareness around the risks of online harms.
Working with the local authority suicide prevention network.
Enhancing our approach to dealing with the death of student or staff member.
What challenges are you currently facing?
The current demand on mental health services is resulting in people having to wait long periods of time to access support resulting in us seeing more complex presentations. As an education provider we are supporting a significant number of young people presenting with suicidal ideation and self harm whilst they are waiting for services to provide support.