Outlook South West delivers the IAPT service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We have more than 100 trained therapists and psychologists working at different localities across the County to provide talking therapies for approximately 12,000 NHS patients each year. We help people recover from common mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression. Our range of psychological therapies are all available to people aged 16+ who are registered with a GP practice in Cornwall. Outlook South West are also commissioned by Cornwall’s CCG, NHS Kernow, to deliver the Suicide Liaison Service, a trauma informed support service for adults (18 years+) living in Cornwall who have been bereaved by suicide.
|Address||2D Restormel Estate
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
The Suicide Liaison Service (SLS) has been delivered since 2010 when it was initially commissioned by Cornwall’s Public Health as an outcome of the County’s Suicide Prevention Strategy (2009). The service was aimed at providing better support to those bereaved by suicide and is currently funded by our local CCG, NHS Kernow. The service has evolved and grown year-on-year and we have developed excellent working relationships with a number of key partners. The Suicide Liaison Service Lead is an active working member of the County’s Multi Agency Suicide Prevention Group. Outlook South West (including the Suicide Liaison Service), are partners with Public Health and other agencies with the County’s Suicide Surveillance Group working to reduce suicide in the County.
We accept self-referrals from individuals and families; referrals from Police, Coroner’s Officers, GPs and other Health & Social Care professionals. Telephone contact is made within 72 hours (frequently sooner, or on the same day) and the following components illustrate the Suicide Liaison Service in practice:
- face-to-face contact offered as soon as possible following a death at the home of the bereaved or, if preferred, at a GP surgery or other community location.
- an informal assessment of need carried out at the initial meeting which can include liaison with, and signposting to, other agencies that might provide help.
- emotional and practical support provided up to and including attendance at the inquest.
- regular liaison with Police and the Coroner’s office
- ongoing monitoring for risk of suicide in the bereaved, and monitoring for symptoms of trauma
- post-inquest referrals are made, where appropriate, into the IAPT service or other statutory or voluntary services, e.g. Cruse Bereavement Care;
- we have developed an 8-week “closed” Grief Education Programme for people bereaved by suicide who are at least 6 months post-bereavement and, preferably, post-inquest. The course content is evidence-based and is intended to facilitate coping strategies and wellbeing
- we coordinate the annual Service of Reflection for People Affected by Suicide at Truro Cathedral, with the Samaritans and other local agencies.
What are your current priorities?
Although our primary role will always be to provide postvention (appropriate and timely trauma informed support) to the bereaved following a death that may reach an outcome of suicide at inquest, our service is working collaboratively with Cornwall’s Public Health on projects which include workplace postvention and improved pathways for support following a suspected suicide of a pupil or staff member in schools and colleges.
What challenges are you currently facing?
As with all NHS-funded services, the Suicide Liaison Service has to work within strict budget constraints and this remains a constant challenge as we look at more creative ways of delivering and developing the service. These difficulties combined with Cornwall’s challenging demographics and geography, which include areas with significant levels of social exclusion, mean that it is often difficult to develop longer-term initiatives to provide ongoing support to some of those affected by suicide in a County that has some of the highest levels of suicide in the country.