The Steering Group has overall responsibility for the direction and running of the alliance, supported by the Secretariat. In the early days of the alliance, the Steering Group was made up of a passionate and committed group of our members who wanted to put, what was then the Call to Action, onto a more solid footing and create a formal alliance.
The Steering Group is made up of 12 member organisations plus the Secretariat. Five of the 12 places are elected by our membership.
Samaritans and the Department of Health have standing roles as host organisation and primary funder respectively. Two members are appointed to the Steering Group: Public Health England as a key partner and a representative from the Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP) as a special interest group of the NSPA.
Bournemouth University – Ann Luce
I have been working in the area of suicide prevention for nearly 15 years, researching in the area of media. I sit on the International Association of Suicide Prevention World Media Task Force for the prevention of suicide, where I have co-written two sets of media guidelines for the World Health Organisation. I have also written blogging guidelines for Save.org in the United States. I have consulted with the Australian government and contributed to guidelines for young people on how best they can safely talk about suicide online and on social media. Closer to home, my research helped inform the creation of Wales’ first suicide prevention strategy back in 2008, and I continue to advise the Welsh Assembly on how to better its suicide prevention strategy. In Dorset, I am the research lead and media lead on the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group working on the Pan-Dorset Suicide Prevention Strategy.
Department of Health and Social Care
The Department of Health and Social Care leads the cross government work on the national suicide prevention strategy. The Department acts as secretariat to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, and funds the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.
East Midlands Suicide Prevention Research – Keith Waters
Keith was a Clinical Nurse Specialist with over 25 years’ experience working with self-harm and associated presentations to an Acute Hospital. He is the Principal Investigator for Derby’s part of the multicentre self-harm study, an Honorary Research Fellow and Director for the Centre of Self-harm and Suicide Prevention research at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Independent suicide prevention consultant and trainer – Miranda Frost
Miranda has worked in mental health related services as a front line worker, service manager and trainer for over 20 years and specifically in suicide prevention for over 10 years. Miranda had a social work background and was former Service Manager for Mind in Brighton & Hove’s Advice and Information and Service User Involvement Services. Previously she worked extensively with survivors of sexual abuse and people with lived experience of suicide and mental ill health.
Miranda is a founding member and former CEO of Grassroots Suicide Prevention, where she took the lead on Strategy and Operations and is an active member of both the Brighton and Hove and East Sussex Suicide Prevention Strategy Group and related work streams. Miranda is an ASIST Trainer, ASIST Consulting Trainer, safeTALK and mental health trainer.
Kent County Council – Tim Woodhouse
Tim is the Kent and Medway STP Suicide Prevention Programme Manager (based in Kent County Council’s Public Health team). For the last five years he has coordinated the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Multi-Agency Steering Group which includes a variety of agencies, charities and individuals affected by suicide.
With his team, Tim designed and implemented the innovative Release the Pressure campaign, which aims to reduce the number of suicides in Kent by encouraging anyone who is feeling under pressure to phone a free-phone helpline (with trained staff available 24 hours a day 7 days a week). www.releasethepressure.uk
Lived experience representative – Liz Slinn
Liz Slinn lives in Winchester, Hampshire. She was bereaved by the suicide of her daughter, Philippa, in 2015 and has since tried to make a difference on the suicide prevention and bereavement agenda as part of the long journey. She is the PLE member of Hampshire CC Suicide Prevention Forum.
Liz was previously an NHS manager for thirty three years, her last job being as CEO of a Surrey Primary Care Trust from which she retired in 2005. She has been reading theology since retirement and is currently studying for a Doctorate in Theology and Practice at the University of Winchester. She is married to Mike and has two other children plus step children and grandchildren. She is looking forward to serving with the NSPA and contributing to the important work the Alliance does.
PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide – Ged Flynn
Ged Flynn is Chief Executive of national charity, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, an organisation founded in 1997 by parents who had lost children and young people to suicide. He has worked in the third sector for over 25 years, having studied theology and philosophy in Durham and later psychology and leadership in Dublin. He is particularly interested in grief management.
Ged represents PAPYRUS on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group in England and its equivalent body in Wales. He is also a Master Trainer in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
Ged lost his cousin to suicide some years ago. This seemed to the family to be ‘out of the blue’ as are many of the suicides which the parents and families and friends who become part of PAPYRUS experience. Ged is keen to reduce stigma at all levels and to help demystify and demythologise mental ill health, having suffered with anxiety and depression himself over several years.
Public Health England – Lily Makurah
Lily is a National Lead for Public Mental Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England. Her role focusses on securing action to deliver population level improvements to mental health. This covers the promotion of good mental health, prevention of mental ill health and suicide, and improving the lives of people living with or recovering from mental health problems. Her work is particularly focused on achieving better population level outcomes, especially for people and communities facing the greatest barriers and inequalities. Prevention, early intervention and cross sector working are priority themes.
Lily brings wide experience from a range of national and local roles in public health (both policy and delivery). This has involved work in local government, voluntary and social enterprise organisations and includes grass roots community work with some of the most vulnerable and at-risk people in England. The learning from these experiences are being captured in her leadership of the national Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health which promotes action to reduce the incidence and prevalence of mental health problems and suicide.
She has a particular interest in the inequalities linked to gender, pregnancy, LGBT+, race, ethnicity, experiences of the children’s care system and homelessness. She is an active champion for bringing the perspectives of those who have to overcome the most disadvantages to the heart of decision making on policy and practice. Most recently Lily was a member of the Women’s Mental Health Taskforce.
Public Health England (PHE) exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Rethink Mental Illness – Brian Dow ( NSPA Co-Chair)
Brian joined Rethink Mental Illness in November 2014 having spent the previous fifteen years working for a range of well-known charities including Shelter, RNID and, most recently, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Prior to that he was a broadcast journalist working with both the BBC and the commercial radio sector. In addition he is Chief Executive of Mental Health UK, an alliance of four charities across the UK.
Brian has family experience of suicide and is interested in advancing our understanding of the connection between mental ill health and suicide.
Samaritans – Jacqui Morrissey (NSPA Co-Chair)
Jacqui joined Samaritans in 2014 and is Assistant Director for its Research and Influencing work, with over twenty years’ experience in the voluntary sector working to improve the lives of vulnerable people. Jacqui is responsible for Samaritans policy, public affairs and campaigning work, striving to ensure that fewer people die by suicide. Jacqui also leads Samaritan’s research and evaluation work, putting in place a new research strategy in 2017. She has led on the development of recent publications including NSPA and PHE’s suicide prevention planning guidance for local authorities and Samaritans’ Dying from Inequality report. Samaritans is pleased to host the NSPA and proud to be its Co-Chair.
Support After Suicide Partnership
The Support After Suicide Partnership is a special interest group of the NSPA, and is a network of organisations that support people who have been bereaved or affected by suicide.