Richmond Fellowship

Our mission is to make recovery reality. We’ve been championing recovery and social inclusion for more than 50 years and we’re now one of the largest voluntary sector providers of mental health support across England. We work with more than 9,000 people every year across more than 120 localised services.

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

As a leading national mental health charity and a provider of services across England, we support more than 9,000 people every year on their recovery journey. We are therefore well placed to contribute to many of the outcomes of the NSPA. In particular, we can do more to train our 800+ staff in suicide awareness and do more to signpost individuals to where they can get help locally when they are experiencing distress. This includes friends, families and carers as well as those directly using our services. We already work closely with other agencies to support individuals but there is always more to be done to improve collaboration and information-sharing. Likewise, we could do more to gain a better understanding of what our own data tells us about suicide in our client groups.

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What are your current priorities?

Better analysis of our own incidence of suicide

– Although we already collect data, we will undertake a more through analysis of our own incidence of suicide to better understand the triggers/context to see if there any preventative actions we could be taking.

Improved suicide awareness and prevention training

– We will review our current provision for training staff and explore options for extending this training offer to our peer supporters and other service users.

Map local/national networks of support and signpost/publicise more widely

– Our local services will map the networks, agencies and organisations that are available in their area that could support people in distress and ensure these are publicised widely. In addition, nationally we will start to promote routes to support through our website, social media and other publicity materials.

Include support for those affected by suicide in our carer guidance

– As part of a refresh and update to our guidance for how we support carers we will include specific reference to information and support for those bereaved or affected by suicide.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

We consider the biggest challenge to be the taboo around suicide. Even our own staff, who are trained to provide support for people with mental health problems, can find it difficult to talk to individuals about this issue. This then makes it much harder to pick up when someone’s mental health may be deteriorating especially if they don’t exhibit any outwardly visible indications of this such as self-harming.

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