We Are With You

We Are With You helps people change their behaviour to become the very best they can be. Whether it is drug or alcohol use or worries about their mental health – we support people to make lasting change in their lives.

You can find us all over the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland. In 2017, we supported 140,000 adults, young people and families to change for the better. We are one of the UK’s leading and largest specialist drug, alcohol and mental health treatment charities. We believe that effective help needs to be tailored to the individual. Each person needs committed and caring support as they move forward step by step.

Our tailor-made support can include information and advice, a treatment plan, peer support groups, individual therapy, life skills development, support with returning to employment, access to residential rehabilitation and help for family and friends.
With our support, people do things they never thought possible.

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

We Are With You delivers a wide range of services to local communities, including:

• Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services for people with mild, moderate and severe anxiety and depression

• Adult substance misuse services, in both communities and prisons

• Young people’s substance misuse services, which include early intervention

• Breaking the Cycle family services

• Mind and Body schools-based programmes for young people at risk of self-harm

• Services for people with complex and multiple needs, such as our Fulfilling Lives services in Blackpool

Our Drink Wise Age Well programme for older adults at risk of problem drinking

• Employee learning workshop on Suicidality to support colleagues and clients

We are well positioned to reach people at increased risk of emotional distress and want to do all we can for them to feel able to talk openly and honestly with us about their mental health and suicide.

We provide a range of supports for recovery and emotional wellbeing and tailor our approaches to suit individuals, offering choice wherever possible.

We work in partnership with other organisations so that all needs can be met to best promote wellbeing and recovery.

We recognise that the work we do can be difficult and we invest in supporting staff through training, supervision and reflective practice.

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What are your current priorities?

We want to work in a way that gets the best from everyone, so that we can reach more people and provide the help they need to get better.

We believe that we are all human beings with strengths and vulnerabilities and that we should all be able to get support with our mental health when this is difficult. We will talk openly about mental health and suicide, treat people with respect and offer choice for them to get the help they need –from us and/or other services. We will challenge ourselves and others when we use language that is stigmatising, judgemental or insensitive e.g. ‘committing suicide’ – suicide is not a crime; ‘successful suicide’ – suicide is never a good outcome.

We believe that we’re all individuals and the help that is right for one person may not be right for another. We want to make it easier for people who need help to access services. We are committed to open access, providing a range of treatment and support options and offering choice wherever possible. We want people to be able to contact us in the way that best suits them, whether this is by drop-in, telephone, referral, email or through an online application. We will continue our work to improve access by listening to our service users, continually evolving our services and using outreach, creative promotion and marketing to reach more people at higher risk of suicide -including men, young people, perinatal women and those who have experienced abuse or trauma. We are training our frontline staff in routine enquiry about adverse childhood experience as part of work to deliver trauma informed care. And we will always support people to access other services when this is right and best for them.

We also know that suicide can have a distressing effect on our staff; some will have personal experiences that resonate, others will be affected by the work they do. We want to provide the right support to staff and have made a commitment to further developing the support available through line management, supervision, reflective practice and review of incidents. We have reviewed our training on suicide prevention and deliver a one-day workshop for staff. Our aim is to ensure that staff can recognise their own thoughts, feelings and attitudes around suicide and also talk comfortably and confidently about suicide with people who access our services.

We want to continue to use our own internal data to better understand the impact of the suicide prevention work that we do and where we need to do more. All suicide prevention work is reported, through our incident reporting procedures, for local and central review and so that learning can be identified and shared. We believe we can do more to identify patterns and trends and understand where we are getting things right and where we need to make changes. We will continue to use case studies to support reflective discussions and learning in teams. We will use our internal communications to promote greater awareness and progress work to reduce suicide and provide support for people bereaved or affected by suicide.

We want to work more closely with other organisations involved in suicide awareness and prevention, recognising that together we can have a greater impact. We want to share our experience and learn from suicide prevention work that others are doing – through our membership of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance and links with other members and also through the work of the Choose Life organisation in Scotland.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Despite the enormous progress that has been made, stigma continues and gets in the way of people talking openly and honestly about substance misuse, mental health and suicide. We want to challenge stigma and support people to talk more openly.

Some groups are harder to reach than others, including people with the highest level of need; access to services is an ongoing challenge. We want make it easier for everyone to get the help and support that works for them, when they need it.

We recognise that a suicide can have a devastating effect on family and friends and can also be distressing for our staff. We want to ensure that our staff provide information and support to people bereaved or affected by suicide and that they also feel supported in the suicide prevention work that they do; always able to respond to others with compassion and care.

Our challenge is to keep working with others across our communities to reduce the number of lives lost to suicide.

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