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 14 member organisations plus the Secretariat. Ten of the 14 places are elected by our membership.
Samaritans and the Department of Health have standing roles as host organisation and primary funder respectively. Public Health England are a co-opted member and the Chair of Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP) sits on the Steering Group as SASP is a special interest group of the NSPA.
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 around 25 years’ experience working with self-harm and associated presentations to an Acute Hospital. He is the Principal Investigator for Derby, part of the multicentre self-harm study, an Honorary Research Fellow, Director for the Centre of Self-harm and Suicide Prevention research at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and was till recently the clinical adviser for suicide prevention with the East Midlands Academic Health Science
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.
Men’s Minds Matter – Dr Luke Sullivan
Luke Sullivan is a clinical psychologist with the Lambeth Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team. Driven by his passion to address the problem of suicide, in his personal time he also set up and runs Men’s Minds Matter which is a not for profit community interest company dedicated to reducing the alarmingly high rates of suicide in men and boys nationally and within Luke’s local area of South East London.
Network Rail – Ian Stevens
Ian has worked in the rail industry since leaving university in 1986 with a Masters degree in computer programming. He is a seasoned frontline operator with experience in station and train crew management, health and safety and construction management. In September 2012 he became the lead for the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme.
At a strategic level he is responsible for managing the industry’s award winning partnership with Samaritans, its relationship with the British Transport Police’s specialist Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Unit and its interaction with government and local authorities. On a day to day basis he brings stakeholders together to address the challenges that suicide present to the railway and the communities it is part of.
Through his innovation and leadership railway administrations around the world now hold up the GB rail industry’s suicide prevention programme as an international benchmark. Ian has lectured extensively abroad promoting the work he leads and supporting others in its application.
PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide – Ged Flynn
Ged 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).
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 as Director of External Affairs, 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.
As someone who has a number of close family members who live with depression and anxiety, Brian is hugely committed to playing his part in improving support for people with mental illness and believes that we ought to aspire to prevent all suicides. His role at Rethink Mental Illness means he is responsible for the development and delivery of their campaigns and, as with all his roles before this, he intends to build coalitions with other charities and public sector bodies because he believes that far more is accomplished when organisations work together in pursuit of a common cause rather than ploughing their own narrow furrow. It is a universally accepted fact, and something borne out by NSPA’s excellent strategy document, that suicides will only be reduced with a high degree of cooperation and trust between different agencies.
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.