Our community

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NSPA members work in partnership across society. Below are examples of their work with their communities.


Working with our community

  1. Coping with life in prison
  2. Creating discussions within the Sikh community
  3. Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership – a new approach
  4. Lessons for Life
  5. Suicide Safer Wigan
  6. Surrey activities promote social inclusion, wellbeing and recovery
  7. Working in partnership to save lives and reduce trauma on the railway
  8. Working together to STOP suicide

Working with the arts

  1. A creative oasis in Shoe Lane Library
  2. Campaign film tackles stigma and saves lives
  3. Remembering loved ones through art

Working with sports

  1. It Takes Balls to Talk
  2. Suicide and mental health awareness at football matches across Derbyshire

Coping with life in prison

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.

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Creating discussions within the Sikh community

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.

For more information about The Heera Foundation and their networking to date, please click here.

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Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership – a new approach

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.

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Lessons for Life

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.

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Suicide Safer Wigan

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”.

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Surrey activities promote social inclusion, wellbeing and recovery

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.

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Working in partnership to save lives and reduce trauma on the railway

NSPA members: Samaritans, Network Rail, and British Transport Police

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.
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Working together to STOP suicide

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.

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A creative oasis in Shoe Lane Library

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

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Campaign film tackles stigma and saves lives

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.

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Remembering loved ones through art

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.

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It Takes Balls to Talk

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.

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Suicide and mental health awareness at football matches across Derbyshire

NSPA members: Derbyshire County CouncilDerbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and Network Rail

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). You can view a list of all the teams that took part here.

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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.  Samaritans website.