World Suicide Prevention Day 2018
For World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 we focused on Working Together to Prevent Suicide. We used Twitter to showcase the partnerships and collaborations of our members in preventing suicide, and encouraged our members to profile their own joint work. We provided members with digital assets and other resources to support their activities on the day.
You can read about our members’ partnerships in the following categories:
People with personal experience
Autistica are funding one of the first studies in the world to find out why autistic people are more likely to die by suicide than non-autistic people and to find ways to better support them.
Samaritans and Autistica are working together to make support more accessible for autistic people. In August, Autistica connected Samaritans with autistic people who have experienced suicidal thoughts to help them design a new online self-help tool. The Samaritans team are now reviewing the results to see what a prototype service could look like.
Samaritans are exploring new ways to support people struggling with suicidal thoughts who may not be able to, or may not wish to, discuss them with a Samaritans volunteer.
You can read about Autistica’s research and campaigning on suicide prevention on their website.
NSPA members: Meadows Communications and Support After Suicide Partnership
Partners: Judi Meadows Memorial Trust, UCL Division of Psychiatry, Maxine Roper, Medical Research Council (MRC)
Medical Research Council-funded research undertaken at the University College London (UCL) found that people bereaved by suicide often encounter extreme social awkwardness among peers and colleagues, leaving them feeling stigmatised and unsupported.
The Judi Meadows Memorial Trust decided to co-produce a lay guide called Finding the Words to explain how to support someone bereaved by suicide, targeting anyone who knew someone who had lost a friend or relative to suicide.
The guide includes advice on what to say or do to help after a suicide loss, using illustrative quotes from the UCL research work with people bereaved by suicide, and the experiences of a co-author with personal experience of suicide loss. The guide has been recommended by organisations such as the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, the McPin Foundation, The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities, and the Bereavement Alliance. It has now been distributed to all Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) practitioners at Outlook South West (Cornwall), all Waller Trainers at the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, and all headteachers at the annual conference of the Junior School Collaboration. It is being sent out to Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust staff in their post-suicide packs, and to Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust senior nurses to use as part of their post-suicide response.
“I am a great fan of this document, it is excellent and very necessary. A year or so ago I was working with a bereaved family and one of the sisters of the man who died asked me if there was any guidance for those supporting the bereaved. Her husband was finding it hard to know how to support her. I emailed her this via her mother when it came out and I am sure her family and many others will greatly benefit.”
Karen Lascelles, Nurse Consultant in Suicide Prevention at Oxford Health NHS Trust
This project addresses one of the two objectives of the suicide prevention strategy for England – improving support for people bereaved by suicide – and benefits a newly-identified at-risk group for suicide. It is hoped that educating the public in this way will improve the support available to people bereaved by suicide, reduce the stigma they experience, and buffer the negative impact of suicide bereavement on mental health and suicide risk.
NSPA member: Gloucestershire County Council
Partners: the Gloucester branch of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, Gloucester Cathedral, 2gether NHS Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Cruse, Samaritans, Gloucestershire Police, and local mental health charity Lifting the Blues.
“They’ve pulled together an extraordinary event which provided perspectives, insight, celebration, inspiration, testimony, comfort and support all surrounded by the most glorious uplifting words and music…. All of that combined to form a second treasured moment in my journey of healing.”
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) worked with the Gloucester branch of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gloucester Cathedral to hold a service to celebrate the lives of those lost to suicide, the support received by those bereaved, and those who work to prevent suicide.
The service included readings from those bereaved and a piece of music composed by a local young man who died by suicide. Two choirs from 2gether NHS Trust and Gloucestershire Police led hymns, with Lifting the Blues supporting performances by Kyla Brox.
A memorial wall was erected on the day to allow people to display photographs and memories of their loved ones. Volunteers from organisations including Samaritans and Cruse attended the event to form a ‘support team’ on hand for those who needed it.
Alongside the service, the Cathedral also launched a display of artwork by students of Creative Connections, a project by Gloucester Cathedral and GCC’s Adult Education Service, supporting adults in recovery and managing mental illness.
The service was an important part of GCCs work to improve postvention support and, alongside the art project, affirmed the Cathedral as a place of solace for people affected by mental illness and suicide.
NSPA member: Mind in Taunton and West Somerset
Partners: Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service, Somerset Public Health, Cruse, and Samaritans.
Set up in 2012, the Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service offers emotional and practical support to people bereaved by suicide. It is funded by Somerset Public Health and run by Mind in Taunton and West Somerset in partnership with Cruse and Samaritans. Following the success of an adult peer support group, and an increase in demand from young people, the service has developed a new peer support group for young people aged 14 years and over.
The support group is called R.O.A.R. – Relax. Open. Accept. Receive. The intention is to provide a safe, facilitated space for young people to share their experiences and seek help and support from others who understand the traumatic grief they may be experiencing. The group uses creative tools and is based around a six-week rolling programme covering topics such as: self-esteem, memories, funeral process, coping with grief, and further support. The group is facilitated by an experienced young people’s suicide bereavement support worker and young people with personal experience who have been trained in group work. The young people meet staff before attending R.O.A.R. to gauge their suitability for a group environment.
The group is in its early stages of development and it will be monitored with its impact evaluated. Further details can be found on their website.
NSPA member: Mind
Partners: Blue Light Programme, Run4Ray
“It’s Monday 1st May 2017, it’s 6am and I’m about to finish my last night shift of the set. Here I am though, sat in our briefing room with all of my team after being summoned by our guv’nor. He walks in with the Sergeants, all with a pained look on their faces. He stands at the front and delivers the news that will rock the world of every officer there – our colleague, no, our friend, PC Ray Thwaites had the evening before lost his battle with mental health.
“First there’s silence, then there’s tears. Complete shock. How can that be. He’d returned to work just last week and seemed to be doing well. I went home, numbness took over me. We go to those kind of calls, but surely it shouldn’t happen to one of our own!
“Sunday 25th February 2018 at around midday, and I’m about to finish the Brighton Half Marathon. I’ve been raising money for Mind and the Blue Light Programme along with over 30 of my team. We lost Ray, it’s been tough, but as a team we pulled together. We wanted to do something positive. We wanted to keep Ray’s memory alive. We want to make sure that no family, be it blood or work, have to ever go through what us and Ray’s wife and sons have been through since that day.”
Sam, part of the Run4Ray team
Mind’s emergency services save lives every day. Their Blue Light Programme is there to support people with their mental health. Visit mind.org.uk/bluelight for more information.
NSPA member: Mind
Partners: #Thisismyhand, Blue Light Programme, and Oxfordshire Mind
“#thisismyhand is a simple message of support, that was shared across the emergency services after the loss of two colleagues in 2016. What started as a simple gesture evolved into a campaign which is still going strong today. Last year I hosted a mental health awareness day, which brought staff together from across the services and included a presentation from Oxfordshire Mind on our local service and the Blue Light Programme. Following this day, four of us walked 136 miles through Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire raising more awareness and culminating in a joint service ‘final leg’ with 75 colleagues finishing the charity walk in Didcot where we held an emergency service open day. I continue to support the work of Mind and I’m currently working on projects for next year.
“#thisismyhand has shown me how important it is to work together and show everyone that it’s ok to talk about mental health, it’s ok to get help with mental health. No matter how dark it may seem, how hopeless and lost you feel, there will always be someone who can help, so reach out, tell someone and never feel alone.”
NSPA member: Support After Suicide Partnership
Partner: Society for Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
“I was so unaware of how many people are impacted by just one such death and I have never stopped to think about the extra burden that a family may feel in these circumstances. If you can ever be prepared for this – at least this initiative will help the industry be more aware – thank you.”
Carolyn Woolcock, Funeral Administrator
The Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP) has developed a strong relationship with the Society for Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), to improve the support families receive when they visit a SAIF funeral home. Together, they have worked to:
- Ensure funeral directors across SAIF’s 1,500 branches are aware of the resources Help is at Hand and Finding the Words, their importance for families, and where they can get copies.
- Raise awareness of the SASP, through an article in INSIGHT magazine, blogs, and a webinar that was circulated to all 870 members.
- Understand and address the challenges funeral directors face with suicide.
- Collaborate on submitting evidence to the Scottish Government’s new Suicide Prevention Action Plan in March 2018.
There has been a positive response from members of SAIF, and they have made a direct impact on the families who arrange their funerals through them. The funeral homes all have access to Help is at Hand, and information and support. SASP has also begun a culture of staff looking after each other when working with a family bereaved by suicide. Funeral directors are often longstanding members of their local communities and have excellent local knowledge and relationships. SASP has used these connections to help families, suggesting funeral directors may want to have an arrangement with local childcare centres, schools, police, and businesses, to help a family deal with bereavement in whatever way they need.
NSPA member: Samaritans
Partner: Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
“In prison you lose control over many things, but your emotions are your own”
Samaritans has trained former prisoners to help new prisoners deal with life inside, with the aim to reduce suicide and self-harm.
The risk of suicide is higher when prisoners enter or move prisons, and prisoners are ten time more likely to take their own lives than people on the outside. Being able to manage your emotions can act as a buffer against suicide risk. Trainers with lived experience of prison ran pilot sessions in two London prisons. These sessions aimed to help new prisoners to understand their emotions, help them cope in difficult situations and reach out for support.
Nearly 9 out of 10 of the new prisoners said they found the sessions useful. Samaritans is working with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to build on the scheme’s success.
Alan, trainer, “In prison you lose control over many things, but your emotions are your own”
Simon, trainer, “It’s hard to find a role model in prison”
Steve, trainer, “To reduce crime, you need to think about how to change prisoners”
You can watch a video about the initiative, and read first-hand accounts from the session leaders on the Samaritans website.
NSPA member: The Heera Foundation
Partners: Mind, PAPYRUS, Sikh Channel, Sikh Gurdwara, and a Taboo Forum
The Heera Foundation is a newly established charity. They have been busy networking with existing services to create a platform to openly discuss Mental Health Awareness and Mindfulness. They have been leading presentations on the Prevention of Suicide alongside Mind and PAPYRUS and have been attending various community events. Additionally, they have been interviewed on the Sikh Channel to reach out to an even wider audience.
Throughout June they held a Mental Health and Mindfulness drop-in at a prominent Sikh Gurdwara which was impactful. Key professionals within the industry spoke to the community and explained what service provision is available. Future plans include networking with primary schools and community groups to share ‘Thought Jars’ with children to assist with the art of conversation.
The Heera Foundation has joined the panel for a Taboo Forum where they had the opportunity to raise awareness of Mental Health and Mindfulness followed by a Q&A session. On World Suicide Prevention Day, they will be distributing Mental Health support cards regarding suicide prevention with Heera Foundation Cakes.
NSPA member: Gloucestershire County Council
Partners: 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, British Transport Police, DWP – Jobcentre Plus, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Gloucestershire Constabulary, Coroner’s Office, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, Ministry of Defence, Probation Service, South Western Ambulance Service Team (SWAST), Barnardo’s, Door Youth Project, Gardners Lane & Oakwood Federation, Families First Plus Springboard Children and Family Centre, Young Gloucestershire, Cruse Bereavement Care, Gloucestershire Counselling Services, Time 4 U counselling service, Gloscats (trans representatives) and Gay Glos, Gloucestershire College, Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning, Hartbury College, Uni of Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean District Council, Gloucester City Council, Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, Stroud District Council, GP practices, Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, Healthwatch Gloucestershire, Independence Trust, Kingfisher Treasure Seekers, Rethink, Swindon & Gloucestershire Mind, Bromford Housing, Citizens Advice, Elim Housing, GreenSquare Group, Open House, P3 – People Potential Possibilities, Home Group, Riverside, Gloucester Diocese, Faith & VCS Group, Gloucester Cathedral, Forestry Commission, Gloucester City Safe, Gloucester Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Forest of Dean Salvation Army, Gloucestershire Farming Friends, Mates in Mind, Natinoal Care Parks, Nelson Trust, LawCare, Racing Welfare, Victim Support, Look Again, Stepping Stones, Samaritans, SOBS, Suicide Bereavement UK & Churchill Fellow, Suicide Crisis, and Sunflowers Suicide Support
During 2017/18, the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership (GSPP) has embarked on a new approach to engaging a wider range of partners and improving delivery.
A new Steering Group has been established to oversee the business of the GSPP and has completed a comprehensive audit of deaths by suicide in 2013-2015 and established a surveillance process to monitor real-time suspected and attempted suicides, allowing partners to identify and respond to trends and potential clusters.
Most significantly, the GSPP was opened to anyone who wishes to contribute to the delivery of the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Strategy. This is achieved through three open forum events each year, offering partners the opportunity to network, hear about key issues, share good practice and workshop ideas. Each event has been attracting between 30-50 attendees from very diverse backgrounds, including those affected by suicide.
Anyone involved in the wider forum is able to take part in smaller working groups, which so far include:
- A Frequently Used Locations Task Group, working with partners including National Car Parks (NCP), Network Rail and the Forestry Commission to reduce suicides in public places.
- A Communications & Engagement Task Group, which is coordinating communications activity, with an emphasis on target groups identified through the suicide audit.
You can find out more information about some of the work that the GSPP does on their website.
NSPA member: PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide
Partners: Wigan and Leigh’s Youth Cabinet Group and Lessons for Life
“I just wish I’d known about them (PAPYRUS) earlier as I have gone through struggles with suicidal thoughts and I’ve needed someone to talk to.”
Wigan and Leigh’s Youth Cabinet Group coordinated a summer programme of activity for 2018 called Lessons for Life with PAPYRUS being approached to facilitate the mental health and suicide prevention element of the programme.
PAPYRUS hosted three 90-minute workshops on three separate days throughout the summer holidays in Central Park, Wigan; Turnpike Gallery, Leigh; and Liverpool Road, Platt Bridge. Each session was attended by twenty young people already known to targeted services together with community deal, Wigan Council’s community investment fund, workers from the children, adults and families team.
There was brilliant feedback from those who attended who remarked on the informative nature of the session, how it encouraged them to look after their self-care as well as offering avenues of support for those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Suicide prevention and awareness formed part of a qualification each participant earned as the Lessons for Life programme was accredited learning.
One of the participants said that they found it to be a “…really good session – I’ve taken a lot away from it. It was a lovely presentation”.
For more information on Wigan Youth Cabinet visit their website.
NSPA member: PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide
Partner: Wigan Council
PAPYRUS has been awarded almost £132,000 from Wigan Council’s latest round of Deal for Communities Investment Fund to launch ‘Suicide Safer Wigan’, a three-year programme to train local people and organisations in suicide first aid and prevention.
The programme aims to provide the area with skills to keep young people in the community safe from the risk of suicide and eradicate the stigma associated with mental health, allowing residents to live well. As part of the programme, PAPYRUS will deliver workshops called ‘Let’s Talk About Suicide’ to a wide range of organisations from the public, private and third sector.
They will also run two-day skill building workshops aimed at local people to provide suicide first aid intervention, which can be used within the community if needed.
And, adding to the offer, PAPYRUS will establish ‘Community Volunteers’ who will design, coordinate and deliver suicide prevention activities in chosen wards to create a network of individuals with the ability to identify those at risk and provide ‘safety-for-now’ care before signposting to fully qualified support.
Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council said:
“We are privileged to support this incredibly important project, which we are confident will have a profound effect on our community. Suicide Safer Wigan is a great example of what The Deal for Communities Investment Fund can be used for and we look forward to watching the programme develop over the next three years”.
NSPA member: Surrey County Council
Partners: Mary Frances Trust, Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group
The Mary Frances Trust are commissioned in partnership by Surrey County Council and Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group to provide leadership for Community Connections Mental Health Services in Mole Valley, Epsom & Ewell, East Elmbridge, and Banstead.
Surrey Community Connections services are open access services, delivered by the voluntary sector, to support people (aged 16 and over) with mental health needs. The services promote social inclusion, community participation, mental wellbeing and recovery by connecting people to mainstream activities in their community via a variety of group activities and one-to-one support to aid suicide prevention. Activities include:
A men’s group: this was set up to help men get together in an environment where they would be happy discussing any issues that they were currently experiencing. The men’s group is facilitated by a member of staff, but the onus is very much on peer support. The group targets males who may be experiencing issues around isolation, emotional wellbeing, and those who may be at risk of suicide.
Cycling group: in a hope to engage with men at risk of suicide, the cycling group is geared to support men improving their emotional wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence, while encouraging them to get fit and healthy. The aim is to help men forge friendships, discuss their problems and develop a peer-support structure so they are able to encourage and support each other.
Safe Haven (SH): an out of hours mental health crisis centre, open between 6pm and 11pm. SH offers people who are in crisis a safe, welcoming and friendly environment, providing people with a space to talk about their feelings and problems, take advice, and be sign posted to other appropriate services. The people accessing the SH service can also speak to a clinician if necessary.
Partners: The wider rail industry
In 2010 Network Rail entered into a partnership with Samaritans on behalf of the rail industry. Three years later a second partnership was established with a specialist British Transport Police Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Unit. Together they have been delivering a cross-industry rail suicide prevention and post incident support programme to reduce the number of suicides on the network and their impact on those affected by them. The programme includes training, communications campaigns, installation of physical mitigation measures, community outreach, multi-agency working, data analysis and the commissioning of research.
Through the combined efforts of the industry and its key stakeholders:
- Lifesaving interventions on the network have increased year on year since 2014/15, with 1711 reported in 2017/18.
- The Department for Transport introduced the need for Train Operators to create suicide prevention plans as part of their rail franchise agreements, ensuring sustainability of suicide prevention.
- Over 19,000 rail staff have been trained on award-winning suicide prevention and trauma support courses (provided by Samaritans) leading to many suicides being prevented and better support for those suffering from trauma in the aftermath of traumatic incidents.
- British Transport Police has worked with NHS to create highly effective joint suicide prevention plans for people at risk of suicide on the rail network. In 2017/18 2106 plans were put in place.
NSPA member: STOP Suicide
Partners: Jagex, Peterborough United Football Club, Cambridge United Football Club, Cambridge Train Station, Anglia Ruskin University and Tesco
In April and May 2018 STOP Suicide launched a new phase of their campaign to encourage people to talk more openly about suicide across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire. Publicity included: direct bus advertising, community roadshows, a powerful film and using real people’s stories in the press and on social media.
The activity was fully-funded and delivered in partnership with Cambridge-based Jagex – an online gaming company committed to investing in mental health initiatives through its support of local and national charities.
Early highlights included:
- 67,000+ views of the STOP Suicide campaign film on Twitter alone
- 1.4 million Twitter impressions in May 2018
- Celebrity endorsements including Stephen Fry, Benjamin Zephaniah (Poet), Sandi Bogle (Gogglebox), Richard Linnell (Hollyoaks), Peterborough United players (Stephen Taylor, Jack Marriott, Jack Baldwin etc.) and Cambridge United captain Gary Deegan
- Appearances on BBC Look East & BBC Radio Cambridgeshire as well as articles in several publications and online news sites including Cambridge News & Peterborough United FC
- Over 2,000 pledges counted so far in total for campaign lifetime.
STOP Suicide worked closely with their local university, Tesco, station, town & city councils to put on the roadshow events to share their campaign film on a giant LED screen which was taken to each location. Alongside this, STOP Suicide had several Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind staff & volunteers (STOP Suicide Campaign Makers) speaking with individuals and handing out campaign resources. Our volunteers contributed over 400 hours to helping deliver the campaign.
Partnering football clubs collaborated with STOP Suicide by working alongside their communications team and having their players’ endorsing the campaign. This was shared by each club through their communications channels. In addition, Campaign Makers were present at each club’s match days where they engaged with supporters and handed out resources.
NSPA member: City of London Corporation
Partners: Wellcome Trust, Carnegie UK, Barbican & Community Libraries, Business Healthy, Mental Fight Club and Output Arts, with support from Deloitte’s Beyond Me team.
“It’s hard at work to have a pocket to decompress. When you free yourself to come along [to DCC], you do come away feeling better… I felt a sense of community by being in a group. There are people from all sorts of jobs coming in. It makes you feel part of a bigger picture.”
City worker, female, aged 36
The Dragon Café in the City pilot programme ran between February and July 2018 and offered an oasis for City workers and residents to release the pressure from day-to-day and work life. It was hosted in Shoe Lane Library and ran on a fortnightly basis, offering a wide range of free, creative activities designed to support individuals’ mental wellbeing and boost their resilience. Dragon Café in the City’s approach was focused on prevention and offered self-led interventions for those experiencing common mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety.
The programme changed fortnightly and included 15-minute massage, calligraphy, yoga, mindfulness, DIY kimchi workshops, lunch and learn sessions, perfume masterclasses, chess strategy and more. Dragon Café in the City also hosted Thrive LDN Problem-Solving Booths. The Café opened between 12pm and 8:30pm, providing flexibility – particularly to workers – who could attend during their lunchbreak, or after work. Dragon Café in the City was well-received by the local resident and business community, with footfall in the library doubling during DCC sessions.
The Dragon Café in the City pilot was funded by the City of London Corporation and Wellcome Trust and Carnegie UK’s Engaging Libraries programme. The following quotes were captured by some Dragon Café in the City users:
“For me it’s about relaxing every couple of weeks and knowing you have a place to do it…It’s somewhere people find peace of mind.”
City worker, male, aged 43
“To have this free resource to be able to tap into over the past couple of months has been brilliant. This country is beginning [to be] increasingly understanding that a person’s peace of mind and agility of body is interlinked and important to the wellbeing of the whole society. I have loved it.”
Dragon Café in the City visitor
NSPA member: The OLLIE Foundation
Partners: #ItMatters and the National Youth Theatre
The OLLIE Foundation worked with volunteers taking part in the #ItMatters initiative, including members of the National Youth Theatre and young creatives working in the film industry to make a campaign film, Ollie, to raise awareness of suicide amongst young people.
Since its launch on 7th May 2018 the film has had over 72k views on Facebook (plus nearly 700 shares), reached 30k people on Twitter and has received over 3.6k views on YouTube. Schools, universities and National Citizen Service branches have contacted the OLLIE Foundation to say that they’ll be using the film for education and training. Young people have been in touch to say that the film has made them realise that they’re not alone. Thanks to the film, there has also been a great interest in OLLIE’s suicide intervention training.
The film is achieving exactly what The OLLIE Foundation hoped for – tackling stigma and saving lives. You can watch the film here.
NSPA member: Outlook South West
Partners: Cruse Bereavement and Samaritans
Organised and delivered by Outlook South West’s Suicide Liaison Service, a creative workshop was held on Monday 25th June at Porthmeor Studios, situated on Porthminster Beach in the small Cornish town of St Ives. The event brought together several people bereaved by suicide in the area.
Support was provided by Outlook South West’s Anne Embury and Penn Petchey, with assistance offered by a Cruse Bereavement volunteer and two Samaritans. The facilitator, Vicky Wiltshire, a visual artist based in West Cornwall brought a large selection of bulbs, creative materials and boxes, that were all biodegradable. Participants decorated their boxes in memory of their loved ones and were able to take them home to plant in their gardens for the bulbs to flower next Spring. At the end of the morning, Vicky invited participants to share what their work meant to them.
The event demonstrated the benefits of working together with the Arts Community and Mental Health in Cornwall, and further collaborative ventures have been planned.
NSPA member: Warwickshire County Council
Lead Partners: Alex Cotton (Mental health nurse and BTT founder), Coventry & Warwickshire Mind, Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership Trust
Other Partners: Public Health England, Connecting with People, Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Samaritans, and Unite the Union
It Takes Balls to Talk (ITBTT) is a community campaign which uses a unique approach to enhance mental wellbeing and address previously unaddressed suicidal feelings in a high-risk group, by taking a straightforward message directly to men and those that care about them, in their places of leisure particularly sporting venues. It is a grass-roots campaign, highlighting the importance to men’s mental wellbeing of them talking about their emotions.
Volunteers share a simple powerful message at sporting matches and male dominated places; that “It’s okay to talk about how you feel” and also encourage them to “Be a Listening Mate”. The volunteers not only role-model the ease and effectiveness of brief conversations about mental well-being, but also sign-post those who identify a need to services in their area. At each event a clinician is available to support volunteers and address any immediately presenting significant mental health needs. It Takes Balls to Talk enhances this face-to-face contact at events with an online presence that is rapidly developing.
ITBTT is a partnership initiative led by Alex Cotton (Mental Health Nurse), Coventry & Warwickshire Mind and Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership Trust, working closely with Public Health across Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council, Samaritans, and Unite the Union.
The campaign has linked with a wide range of community based organisations including: Fire Service where they are training fire crews in suicide prevention, police services, football coaches, ice hockey (where “Puck Up the Courage” is a key message), horse racing venues in Warwick and Stratford (where “Beat the Odds” is the key message), and a whole range of sporting venues across Coventry and Warwickshire. There are plans to expand ITBTT into a wider range of male dominated environments including key workplaces and community venues such as pubs. This will enable ITBTT to really target high risk groups, in higher risk locations.
Partners: Derby County Football Club, Chesterfield Football Club, Samaritans, Cruse, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, Mind, and State of Mind
Organisations across Derbyshire used World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) as a platform to raise awareness of suicide and its prevention at football matches, in order to normalise talking about mental illness, distress and despair in a very public environment. Each year, staff and volunteers start conversations with fans about suicide prevention, hand out information, and provide additional support to anyone in need.
The matchday initiatives in Derbyshire targeted key at risk groups, those over-represented in suicide statistics and those less likely to seek help in traditional models. Men made up 84% of the suicides in Derbyshire in 2015 (when the events started) and 75% of people who die by suicide are not in touch with mental health services.
The football clubs have been very supportive, and players have acted as role models, with videos of team members talking about their own mental health, experiences of distress and help seeking being played at half-time. Discussing suicide at such large public events aims to “tackle” stigma and normalise mental illness.
In 2018, three new football clubs and teams hosted WSPD events in Derbyshire: Alfreton Town Football Club, Belper Town Football Club and Sheffield Football Club (based in Dronfield).
NSPA member: Journey of Hope
Partners: St Mary’s Psychiatry liaison team, and The Listening Place
“It’s really helpful knowing that you’re not discharging people to nothing, I worry about people going home alone, so it’s great knowing that Journey of Hope will follow up with them.”
A psychiatric nurse at St Mary’s
Journey of Hope CIC was set up in response to the growing number of people using A&E who had made or were thinking of making a suicide attempt. The Journey of Hope project set out to work with those who were not eligible for other support services.
Journey of Hope began working with the Psychiatry Liaison Service at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington in June 2017. The support provided is founded on the evidence-based Five Ways to Wellbeing approach – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give. This ongoing project has supported over 85 people through crisis on a one-to-one basis, providing intensive emotional and practical support, resolving welfare benefit issues, reducing isolation and loneliness, and connecting people with other agencies providing support.
“Thank you for being such a great and wonderful caring person, I just wanted to die, everything had become too difficult and you have helped me so much to get on top of my problems.”
“Thank you just for listening to me, when no-one else would. It’s just about having someone to help me sort things out that have all piled on top of me, I just couldn’t go on…”
Clients of Journey of Hope
NSPA member: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Partners: Norfolk multi-agency suicide prevention steering group, Suffolk multi-agency suicide prevention steering group, MIND, Samaritans, Healthwatch, police, and bereavement support/counselling services
A priority of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Suicide Prevention Strategy 2017-2022 is to play a key role in acting to reduce suicide in their community. As part of the five-year Forward Plan for Mental Health each county is working to a multi-agency suicide prevention plan supporting a 10% reduction in suicides nationally.
Both counties of Norfolk and Suffolk have separate multi-agency suicide prevention steering groups and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is an active member of both. Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has invested in a dedicated Suicide Prevention Lead which has enabled flexibility and representation at local and national suicide prevention groups along with ensuring that suicide prevention is at the fore front of planning and delivering services for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Achievements to date include:
- Joint planning and involvement in events and promotions. Most notable examples are an NSFT lead Men’s Mental Health conference (held in both Norfolk and Suffolk), Suicide Prevention Learning Events (Norfolk Public Health led) and promotion of Suffolk Life Savers work.
- Integrating the approach between the countywide strategies of Norfolk (I’m OK / I’m not OK) and Suffolk (Suffolk Lives) and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust suicide prevention strategy.
- Collaborating on sharing of data and information which it is hoped will enable them to learn more about areas where suicide risk is higher.
- Ensuring NSFT and other partners are represented at all decision-making groups.
NSPA member: STOP Suicide
Partners: Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind, Connecting with People, 4 Mental Health Ltd
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) and Connecting with People (CwP) have delivered suicide mitigation training to GPs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
After attending a Train-the-Trainer programme the CPSL Mind lead delivered several 3-hour workshops to over 90 Primary Care staff in partnership with a CwP-trained GP.
Key elements to the success include:
- ‘Bite-sized’ CwP training using evidenced-based principles and best practice, and is peer-reviewed (people with lived experience, academics and practitioners).
- Suicide Awareness module including compassion, collaboration and co-production. It aims to improve understanding through epidemiology and powerful (true) story-telling.
- Suicide Response module equips delegates to use SAFETool which provides a consistent, structured means of assessing and documenting the assessment of a patient in distress. SAFETool includes co-production of a Safety Plan so that ALL suicidal patients have a Safety Plan.
- Training co-delivered with a GP trainer – creating a peer-to-peer learning environments
Delegate feedback has been extremely positive demonstrating the value – vital in an environment where training time is at a premium and relevance therefore must be tangible.
- ‘Excellent practical session, thank you, clearly applicable to working in General Practice.’
- ‘Outstanding: concise, efficient, enabling.’
- ‘Lots of practical, manageable advice and good resources for future use. It will definitely alter my clinical practice.’
NSPA member: Journey of Hope
Partners: Central and North West London NHS Trust’s Psychological Therapies Grenfell team, CNWL NHS Trust’s Grenfell outreach team, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Grenfell key workers, The Second Half Centre, Open Age, and Humanity for Grenfell
“I have talked about important issues for the community with people today, and that has helped me”
Journey of Hope has provided Wellbeing retreats and follow up one-to-one support with people in trauma following the Grenfell Fire over a period of 10 months (August 2017 – June 2018). The project worked in close partnership with the NHS psychological therapies team for Grenfell, complementing each-other’s work in helping to reduce suicidal thoughts, the effects of the trauma, build resilience and self-care, and manage anxiety, depression, and isolation.
They saw a reduction in the effects of the trauma through the retreats. People participating in a retreat said they felt relaxed and had an improved sense of wellbeing after the one-day retreat. The days were gentle, welcoming and led by members. Participants could engage in massage, yoga, mindfulness, breathing techniques and peer support. People talked about feeling less lonely and isolated, which were often the triggers leading to them feeling suicidal. They valued the opportunities to share stories and connect with people who understand the trauma and began building their peer networks. Retreats were run in the local area initially and then slowly started to move outside London to embrace the beautiful countryside.
Feedback from partners includes Barry Quirk, Chief Executive Royal borough of Kensington & Chelsea, who said:
“It was good to see first-hand the work, and the positive contribution that is being made to the community recovery”.
Donna Arthur, Open Age Link Up Coordinator for Grenfell who referred older people to Journey of Hope retreats and walking groups described the work as: “really important, much needed for those with post-traumatic stress and depression”.
NSPA member: City of London Corporation
Partners: City of London Police, East London NHS Foundation Trust, City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group
‘This is invaluable. The advice and intervention regarding MH patients is far better judged by and dealt with by professionals who can have first-hand immediate contact, rather than officers.’
Working in collaboration, the City of London Corporation and the City of London Police have developed a Street Triage programme, which was first launched in May 2017 with the City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group and East London NHS Foundation Trust.
Initially introduced as a pilot, it addresses the large number of those detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. The triage moves those at crisis away from police detention to a more care-focused approach, reducing the large amount of resource used to detain those at-risk under police supervision. Mental health professionals join police patrols overnight four times a week, determining the best support for those in crisis on the spot.
The evaluation of the first eleven months of the triage found that 41% of all potential Section 136s were avoided. The triage teams also work with the homeless outreach team to provide on-site mental health assessment for rough sleepers. Most police officers agreed that the force has given a far better level of care to people in crisis since the triage began and that they now have a better understanding of NHS working practices. Ongoing funding to expand the triage to seven nights a week has been secured.
Quotes from City of London Police Officers:
‘The continuation of this service is vital to ensure that the vulnerable have access immediately to the right level of care.’
‘I have been pleasantly surprised by this initiative. Having someone who can explain the delays whilst understanding the frustrations of the Police Service is worth its weight in gold.’
‘The best thing to happen for front line policing in recent years. Makes a huge difference.’
NSPA members: Samaritans
Partners: HM Coastguard Rescue 924 helicopter crew and Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, Falmouth Lifeboats (RNLI), Devon and Cornwall Police, Samaritans of Cornwall at Truro
#CoastSafe was set up following the tragic loss of life from a beach accident in 2016 in Newquay. As a county with a large coastline, Cornwall has a high incidence of loss of life involving water. This multi-agency collaboration, based around social media, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of coastal and inland waters, and of organisations who provide support for those in distress and despair.
In addition to regular water related twitter posts, a short video was prepared to encourage anyone struggling emotionally to contact Samaritans. This was shared on Twitter on 9th July and to date the statistics are as follows:
- 4,349 impressions on Twitter
- 767 media views
- 148 engagements
From an initial meeting in early April 2018, this collaboration rapidly gained a worldwide following with many areas around the UK and internationally wanting to join in or start their own group. It is a tribute to #CoastSafe founder PC Andy Mulhern, who acted as casualty reception officer on the tragic event in summer 2016 that this initiative has taken off so quickly and been so successful.
NSPA members: Thrive LDN
Partners: British Transport Police, NHS England London, Transport for London, Samaritans, PAPYRUS, London Ambulance, Metropolitan Police, Public Health England (London branch), and Maritime & Coastguard Agency
“Suicide is preventable, and we should all be working together to reduce the number of people who take their own life in London.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, 2016
The Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Group includes a range of figures involved in suicide prevention across London. Represented organisations include the NHS, Public Health England (PHE), local authorities, academics, the Metropolitan Police (Met), British Transport Police (BTP), organisations associated with the Thames and London’s railways, individuals with lived experience and third sector organisations.
Thrive LDN’s Suicide Prevention Group has several projects currently in development that focus on multi-agency working to prevent suicides. These include a timely pan-London information sharing hub, and suicide prevention training within the education sector.
NSPA members: STORM Skills Training CIC
Partners: Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, State of Mind, and Rugby League Cares
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) invited local partners STORM Skills Training CIC, State of Mind and Rugby League Cares to help organise a Mental Fitness Conference and Roadshow for its staff. Events were organised to coincide with WSPD 2017 with the aim of raising awareness of suicide and the importance of mental fitness.
The conference began with a number of presentations from partnership organisations and included guest speakers. Topics included:
- Sharing personal experiences – Rugby players
- #HeyAreYouOK Campaign Message
- Physical Activity and Mental Fitness
- GMFRS Suicide Prevention Guidance
The afternoon session offered workshops in Psychological Resilience, Mindfulness, Building Mental Fitness, and Starting the Conversation.
The Mental Fitness roadshow was a way to share the messages delivered at the conference and reach as many firefighters as possible. A Community Event Vehicle visited fire stations across Greater Manchester over a week delivering 90-minute sessions to crews. The conference messages and the GMFRS Suicide Prevention Guidance were condensed and presented through shortened versions of the State of Mind story, the Offload taster session and STORM’s #HeyAreYouOK? song/film.
These events proved successful, reaching over 210 firefighters, and showcased how local organisations can work together in the prevention of suicide. One conference delegate said that the event gave them, “The time to reflect on my own mental fitness and the chance to think about how I can start conversations and help others”.
NSPA member: Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
Partners: Association of Colleges and Bath College
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust is dedicated to helping people recognise signs of depression in themselves and others so they know when to seek help. The trust works across all sectors, including education, providing research and resources.
In 2017, it launched the pilot phase of a partnership initiative with further and higher education institutions across the UK to support their efforts to adopt a whole institution approach. The trust worked closely with the Association of Colleges, which has already recruited colleges for the initiative and peer-reviewed e-learning resources for further education.
An example of this is the partnership with Bath College. They have created a resource specifically designed for supporting construction students with mental health problems. It highlights the importance of talking about problems as a means of dealing with mental distress and signposting students to existing and new networks of support. This project is part of a broader work stream identified by the local Suicide Prevention Strategy.
NSPA member: Nightline Association
Partners: Student accommodation providers
Student accommodation providers are key in supporting student well being – they often see more of the student than anyone else in their time at university and are well placed to notice any concerning signs and to help students to access support when they need it.
Nightline Association has worked with a number of student accommodation providers across the country. The focus of these partnerships is to ensure that all students in each of their properties have access to a Nightline service. The partnerships involve co-ordinating with local Nightlines and filling any gaps to guarantee every property is covered as well as ensuring that accommodation staff members in properties are aware and up to date about the service provided by Nightline.
Staff members at these properties now have links with a Nightline to co-ordinate promotional activity and to make available the correct information so that students can call Nightline any time during the night in term-time when other student welfare service are usually closed. This provides a lifeline for students when they need it most.
NSPA member: PAPYRUS
Partners: Bromley Beacon Academy & Bromley Trust Academy
“The training and Save the #Classof2018 campaign has given us assuredness in our work and helped us change policy to reflect good practice when working with suicide.”
Following the launch of PAPYRUS’ successful ‘Building Suicide-Safer Schools and Colleges Guide’, released on WSPD 2017, Bromley Beacon Academy & Bromley Trust Academy has formed a partnership with PAPYRUS to save the #Classof2018.
PAPYRUS now work with the academy’s wellbeing team to adapt and deliver a Suicide-Safer Community Training Pyramid within the school community. PAPYRUS continue to support the academy with campaigns and information, including signposting pupils to their helpline HOPELINEUK.
Larissa Sherman, Head of Therapy at Bromley Beacon Academy & Bromley Trust Academy explained that “Despite having conversations about Mental Health First Aid, many of our staff felt unsure and lacked confidence about discussing suicide with the young people we work with… The training and Save the #Classof2018 campaign has given us assuredness in our work and helped us change policy to reflect good practice when working with suicide.”
Bromley Beacon Academy & Bromley Trust Academy were one of several schools and colleges throughout the UK to get in touch with PAPYRUS requesting further help in developing a suicide-safer schools policy following the launch of their Guide.
For more information on the campaign, you can visit the PAPYRUS website.
Partners: Association of Colleges, Student Minds, University of Manchester
STORM has worked in collaboration with the University of Manchester, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, the Association of Colleges, and Student Minds to bring together a range of guest speakers and workshops for the Post 16-Student Mental Health Support conference, held on the 8th September 2017. The conference forms part of STORM’s ongoing Community Engagement Programme, where investment is made back into the community.
Over 110 delegates attended the free event at the University of Manchester. Providing front-line staff working with young people access to a variety of information, research and networking opportunities. Delegates attending the conference made the following comments about what they found useful from the event:
“All workshops and presentations have been useful and thought provoking”
“Links, networking, great information, great location, food was lovely, staff fantastic”
“Everyone was given the opportunity to participate and ask any questions”
The conference explored a range of themes including: Promoting Recovery in Psychosis, Supporting Staff in Supporting Students, Working with Colleges: challenges and opportunities and hearing the Student Voice.
NSPA member: Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
Partners: Association of Colleges and Universities UK
The demands of student life are well-known and increasingly research evidence points to the greater complexity of mental distress amongst the student population. Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, in collaboration with the Association of Colleges and Universities UK, has developed a Partnership Initiative to work with institutions in the sector to develop bespoke mental health resources.
The importance of suicide prevention emerged early on in discussions, and a number of resources are now being developed to build confidence and capacity across the whole institution to identify and respond to deteriorating mental health, including suicide risk. E-Based materials, ‘How to…’ guides and specific information about suicide risk, not only inform students and staff alike, but also contribute to a culture where mental health, including suicide risk, can be more openly discussed and the stigma reduced.
The resources that are being developed will be made available across the sector so that all institutions, if they wish, can benefit from free, evidence-based, peer-reviewed and developed resources that map perfectly onto the needs of the student population.
NSPA members: City of London Corporation and Business Healthy
Partners: Samaritans (Central London branch), City of London Police, and East London NHS Foundation Trust
“Makes me see how important it is to step in if you see someone who looks like they’re suicidal.”
Since 2015 the City of London Corporation has been working with partners to reduce the number of suicides, with a focus on City residents, workers and visitors who may be at crisis point. A year-long pilot launched in April 2016 and incorporated three key actions to reduce suicides locally: deliver suicide prevention awareness training to local businesses; hand out ‘guidance on suicide intervention’ leaflets to commuters; and place Samaritans signs in key City locations. All three aspects have continued and have been rolled out further past the end of the pilot phase.
Since April 2016, many Suicide Prevention Awareness Training sessions have been delivered to those working in the City. The training has a City focus and aims to provide participants with the tools to recognise when a friend or relative, colleague or stranger may be struggling with their mental health and what they can do to support them. The sessions have been very well-received and feedback from participants includes:
- “Even though I have experience in this field, the training has increased and added to my understanding.”
- “In the organisation I work in we already deliver ‘managing mental health’ workshops and this workshop was a lovely refresher and CPD.”
More than 233 City workers from across 52 organisations have attended the 1.5-hour training – most of whom are HR/ wellbeing/ facilities/ security leads at City businesses – but also including frontline staff, such as those working in key locations, and those in Canary Wharf. The sessions are led by Samaritans volunteers and delivered in partnership with the City Corporation’s Public Health team, the City of London Police and East London NHS Foundation Trust.
NSPA member: Skanska UK
Partners: Construction Industry Helpline, Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, local contractors
For World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 Skanska asked all their employees to count the steps/miles they walked, miles they cycled or ran on 10 September 2018. The mileage was collated to see how many circuits have been travelled from one capital city to another, in countries where Skanska operate.
They calculated that one circuit is approximately 8,000 miles.
Skanska employees benefit from an employee assistance programme (EAP) where employees, partners/spouses and children aged 16-24 in full-time education can get legal and financial advice, counselling, as well as lots more.
Skanska are working with their supply chain partners to support them in raising mental health awareness. Most of their supply chain partners are small contractors and are unlikely to have an EAP. So Skanska want to raise money and awareness of the Construction Industry Helpline, so contractors know where to go.
Skanska asked for donations to the Construction Industry Helpline, run by the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, who provide their contractors with any support they may need. Skanska set up a JustGiving page and also be asked employees to light a candle, to be displayed in a window at 8pm to show support in preventing suicide.
There was also cake sales held across multiple Skanksa sites to raise additional money.
NSPA member: Nightline Association
Partner: EY Mental Health Network
Nightline Association has collaborated with EY Mental Health Network (EY) to organise an event in May 2018 to mark Mental Health Awareness Week for their staff and invited corporate representatives.
One of the Nightline Association volunteers facilitated a panel discussion between the media, GP Dr Ellie Cannon and celebrated Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist Rebecca Galustian.
The event was well attended by an audience of EY staff and others from a range of city corporate organisations. Those present were interested to find out about the work of Nightline Association, to hear the perspective of the panel and to gain insights and valuable tools to take back to their companies to improve the support they provide their staff. Nightline Association is keen to make a difference to the experience for university graduates in their transition into the workplace and, by co-hosting in this event, they also made useful contacts to plan similar events in the future.
NSPA member: The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT)
Partners: Wakefield Council, Horton Housing
CWMT has longstanding relationships with both Wakefield Council and Horton Housing, and has delivered training to both organisations for the past few years. Wakefield Council has received a series of 13 line manager training courses in 2018, and Horton Housing has been supported to deliver a whole organisation approach to mental wellbeing, including line manager training and mental health awareness training for staff.
Both organisations have taken on a ‘train the trainer’ model and have noticed improvements in staff engagement, sick leave and how mental health problems are managed in the workplace.
NSPA member: Samaritans
Partners: PWC, Lord Mayors Appeal Charity, This is Me, A Better City for All
Samaritans and PWC have been working in partnership to produce Wellbeing in the City, an interactive online programme which brings Samaritans active listening expertise into the workplace. The programme teaches people the skills to manage their own emotional health and look out for others. This was a hugely valuable experience for all parties. Combining PWC’s knowledge and expertise of technology, their City audience insights and innovative design ideas alongside Samaritans expertise in wellbeing, emotional health and active listening skills made the project come alive. Feedback from the City has been very positive, and we are already hearing about changes in confidence and culture with people feeling more prepared to ask after a colleague’s welfare if they feel something is wrong. It’s also led to an increase in people feeling more comfortable to talk about their own emotional health and wellbeing something that can only be beneficial long term in Samaritans aim to get people talking earlier.
Samaritans and PWC has come together to produce an interactive online training programme, Wellbeing in the City. Find out how the programme teaches people to manage their own health and how to look out for others.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention had a wide range of activities which took place on World Suicide Prevention Day. They also published the animated banner below as well as banners in at least 62 different languages, which read:
World Suicide Prevention Day
Working Together to Prevent Suicide
September 10, 2018
The NSPA would like to give particular thanks to the staff of their members Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Kidscape, Mind, PAPYRUS, Rethink, Samaritans, STORM Skills Training, and Thrive London for their time and effort as part of the World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 working group.