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
Ann Luce has been working in the area of suicide prevention for nearly 15 years, researching in the area of media. She sits on the International Association of Suicide Prevention World Media Task Force for the prevention of suicide, where she has co-written two sets of media guidelines for the World Health Organisation. She has also written blogging guidelines for Save.org in the United States. She has 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, her research helped inform the creation of Wales’ first suicide prevention strategy back in 2008, and she continues to advise the Welsh Assembly on how to better its suicide prevention strategy. In Dorset, she is 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 – Laura de Silva and Simon Dowlman
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.
Derbyshire County Council – Dr Sohrab Panday
Sohrab Panday is a General Practitioner at Clay Cross Medical Centre, Derbyshire and Clinical Lead, Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group. He is an experienced General Practitioner with a passion for mental health and suicide prevention. He believes all NHS Staff should be routinely trained in suicide prevention and that a culture change towards compassion for ourselves, our colleagues and patients is vital to achieve this aim.
Sohrab worked in a large city practice in Peterborough for 22 years and in 2010 began clinical commissioning and chaired the Cambridgeshire Suicide Prevention Group. In 2013 he relocated to Derbyshire where he was able to continue both clinical and commissioning roles in Mental Health for Derby and Derbyshire CCG. He was Clinical Lead for the East Midlands Clinical Network (NHS England) from 2014-18, improving the physical health of people with serious mental illness via networking and sharing best practice.
Like so many of his GP colleagues, Sohrab has seen and even experienced the trauma that inevitably follows the suicides of patients, friends and colleagues. He is also acutely aware of the lack of training and support available to primary care staff in suicide prevention. In Cambridgeshire he commissioned the Third Sector to implement a successful awareness campaign which went on to win the Mental Health Voluntary Sector Awards in 2015. In Derbyshire he is currently leading a group of GP Suicide Prevention Trainers who are commissioned via the Suicide Prevention Forum led by Derbyshire County Council. Their aim is to systematically train the entire clinical and nonclinical primary care workforce in Derbyshire; they have trained over 500 staff to date using their practice based, face to face, peer to peer approach (Finalist HSJ Award for Primary Care Innovation December 2018).
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 – Tammy Coles
Tammy is the National Programme Manager – Public Mental Health at Public Health England. She is very proud of her nursing background; while working as a nurse she was exposed to the impact upon people’s health and wellbeing caused by what she now recognises as health inequalities – those unjust and avoidable differences in people’s health across populations. This quest to make a difference to the most vulnerable led her to work in public health.
With over 25 years’ experience Tammy has worked across the NHS, Local Authority and the voluntary sector. She has led on several projects aimed at reducing alcohol related harm, including making the case for and commissioning an award-winning service which works with alcohol dependent individuals who also have Long Term Conditions. She managed the re-design of a recovery focussed substance misuse service which builds on the assets of the individual – those skills, knowledge, connections and potential they possess. She has an interest in the value of mutual aid and peer to peer support.
She has always had an interest in mental health, from both a personal and professional perspective. She is particularly keen on ensuring that those living with or experiencing mental health issues, their families and carers have a voice.
Tammy is a Technical Advisor to the WHO Collaborating Centre for public health nursing and midwifery.
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 – Fergus Crow
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.