Grassroots is an award-winning charity and UK leader in suicide prevention. We believe that suicide can be prevented through open and direct conversations. We call this Real Talk. We provide people with the skills and confidence needed to save lives through our training, innovation, and thought-provoking campaigns. But that’s not all. We make change. We work with Change Makers - the people who share our beliefs and want to make a difference.
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How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
At Grassroots, we know real conversations save real people’s lives. Real talk is a meaningful conversation. One that’s open, direct, honest and courageous. We enable those conversations on all levels. Real talk is at the heart of our community approach. We teach the skills to start a conversation that could save a life. Since 2006 we have trained over 10,000 people in suicide prevention and mental health from over 250 organisations. We know from feedback and six-month follow-up data that it has increased participants confidence and skills and led to many interventions that have helped to save lives.
We have developed an award-winning suicide prevention app called Stay Alive, designed to help someone thinking about suicide, as well as those concerned about someone else. Top features include a customisable safety plan, suicide myth-busting, breathing exercises, a LifeBox to store life-affirming photos, and links to national and local crisis resources. The app is continuing to develop and grow to meet the needs of the community, with downloads reaching over 67,000. We know from evaluation and ongoing feedback that the app has helped many people stay safe from suicide.
Research tells us that most people who die by suicide are not in contact with mental health services - they are right here in our community. That’s why we have developed Real talk with the community in mind. To get real people in real life situations talking, and to let them know that starting conversations about suicide really can save lives. In fact, talking about suicide is the best way we know to prevent suicide, but because of stigma around suicide most people fear talking about it. They feel that the conversation could be confronting or even make things worse. We understand these fears and how myths like these can be real conversation stoppers. Real Talk provides practical tools, advice and coaching to help people have honest, open and reassuring conversations about suicide. Conversations which could quite literally be the difference between life and death.
To support this work, we maintain a thriving social media network of ChangeMakers. We use these networks to share resources and raise awareness, with over 48,000 followers on Twitter, 3,700 likes on Facebook and 550 followers on Instagram. This helps us to share essential suicide prevention messages, connect with our wider community, and raise awareness of this important issue.
What are your current priorities?
Continuing to provide excellence and innovation in our community led suicide prevention model through:
- The delivery of high-quality suicide prevention training;
- Developing our Real Talk Community by building a network of ChangeMakers, enabling the kinds of conversations that save lives;
- Developing our Real Talk suite of products;
- Innovative and thought-provoking campaigns to help us reach out to more people nationwide, reducing stigma and helping to get people talking;
- Pioneering digital technology and discovering new ways to connect and support you better.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Fundraising to grow and maintain our excellent programmes continues to be an ongoing challenge. We are keen to develop partnerships and collaborate with similar organisations so that we can increase the collective impact of our work and support each other to grow and develop our approach.