NSPA members and supporters gathered at NCVO in central London last month for the Annual Members Meeting. Attendees heard what the NSPA has been doing over the last year, and some showcased their own recent projects and findings in a series of presentations. The meeting – open to all members and supporters – happens every year and is a great opportunity for people working in all areas of suicide prevention to network and share challenges, experiences and ideas with each other.
There were also morning and afternoon table discussions sessions. The first allowed people to think and share about how the last year has been for them and how NSPA can help them further. In the afternoon the table discussions were on: men and suicide, working in a small organisation, successful campaigns, and how to better enable and empower people with lived experience.
We are very grateful for everyone who attended, contributing valuable insight into suicide prevention.
Here is a summary of the presentations throughout the day. Click the headings to download PDF versions of presentations slides
Over the last year the NSPA has delivered events such as our conference, local suicide prevention planning masterclasses, and mental health champion training; and we have produced resources including the Local Suicide Prevention Planning guidance, a suite of resources on postvention support, and resources for World Suicide Prevention Day a few weeks ago that reached far beyond our alliance members. All of these activities have contributed to a 32% increase in membership to 92 organisations and nearly 100 individual supporters. Over the next year we intend to: continue to grow and support our membership, with more special interest groups and regional events; enhance the website with more resources and information; and continue to be a strong voice that represents our members.
David Mosse, from the Haringey Suicide Prevention Group, then talked about how the loss of his son to suicide lead him to set up this multi-agency group to lead on suicide prevention planning and delivery across the borough.
Nicole Klynman, from the City of London, and Will Skinner, a Samaritans volunteer, talked about the challenges of suicide prevention in the City and how they have worked together with the police and health services on the ‘Bridge pilot’, which involved putting signs up on London Bridge, giving out leaflets to pedestrians to raise confidence in helping someone they think might be at risk, and delivering suicide awareness training to front-line staff and people who work near the bridge. They are now working on similar work for Southwark, Tower and Blackfriars Bridges.
Lived Expertise of Suicide: Inclusion, Engagement and Strategic Partnerships
Gill Green, from STORM Skills Training, and Jacqui Morrissey, from Samaritans, talked about an Australian initiative – Roses in the Ocean – which works to “engage and empower people with a lived experience of suicide in order to change the way suicide is spoken about, understood and prevented.” Their definition of lived experience includes having had suicidal thoughts, having been bereaved by suicide, and caring for someone who has suicidal thoughts, and they work to include a diverse range of people and ensure they are supported and trained, and their voices valued. It felt that there was support for the idea of this or a similar model existing in the UK, and the NSPA will continue to work on this.
Jon Spiers, from Autistica, shared their research data on autism and suicide. Findings include higher levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and higher rates of suicide in people living with autism. The research also highlights how challenging it is to find appropriate support when one finds it very difficult to identify or discuss emotions, work in groups, or call helplines.
Bianca Hegde, from STORM Skills Training, talked about how they invest money back in to communities through free training and education for front-line staff, running their social change campaign #HeyAreYouOK?, and working pro-bono for organisations including State of Mind and the Greater Manchester Fire Brigade.
Emerging Themes – contact us for more info
Victoria Sinclair, from the Nightline Association shared their data on the challenges faced by students, the themes coming up regularly (including sexual violence, loneliness, self-harm, suicide and the transition to and from university) and their focus on how to support specific groups of callers better, particularly post graduates, international students and male students.
Helen Garnham, from Public Health England talked about the 2017 Suicide Prevention Planning Masterclasses, particularly what was learned from them, which included how extra funding might be better invested, the desire for more examples of good practice, the benefits of wider collaboration, and the need for more workforce development.