SPIN (Suicide Prevention Information Network) events are half-day information sharing events that shine a spotlight on different key areas of suicide prevention, currently particular identified high-risk groups who are at an increased risk from suicide. Local speakers and local services are used where possible to showcase what they are doing, and to raise the profile of what is happening around suicide prevention in our local communities. Information stands are present, and people can take information away for further reflection.
At the end of each event, people are asked to write a “pledge”. This asks them to reflect on what they have been inspired by during the event, and to make a commitment to themselves to take something away. This is important as it ensures people are active participants and are learning from the presentations and speakers and think around what they may like to do differently. This helps people leave feeling energised to make things better, and with an idea of where they can start.
Pledges from previous events include:
“I will think more about how we include families, friends and carers in our initial assessments”
“I will not feel afraid to ask people about suicide”
“I will think more about ensuring I am asking open ended and inclusive questions”
“I will pay attention to the role of demographic factors in my assessments”
SPIN events occur every quarter and are open to everyone who wishes to book a place. There are up to 100 spaces available, and places are always completely free, enabling rich and varied audiences. These include clinical staff, staff from other sectors and from charitable organisations, people with lived experience of suicide, families, friends and carers and students. These varied audiences ensure discussions and questions come from a variety of perspectives, further contributing to the impact of the events. Plenty of breaks are scheduled, ensuring there is time for people to reflect, meet each other and discuss the topics – many key connections have been made during this time.
SPIN events are mindful of psychological safety because of the nature of the topics that are being discussed. At the opening of each event, we always talk about how we keep ourselves safe during the event, ground rules, and what to do if anyone becomes distressed. Staff are on hand to provide support should this occur, and there is a designated “quiet room” – a safe space where people can go to reflect at any time during the event. It is set up with comfy chairs, refreshments, and plenty of tissues! A trained member of staff will check in with anyone who uses the quiet room and see if they want to be alone or if they would like to talk to someone. However, so far the quiet room has been used very little. People report finding the events very safe and supportive, and although they can be emotional and impactful at times, the ethos of the events feels positive and people report leaving the events feeling hopeful and empowered.
At the end of each SPIN event, people evaluate their experience of the event, and, to date, the events have only ever been rated as good or excellent. Regardless of the perspective they are coming from, people have said how valuable they find the events, and how they like the balance of speakers from different viewpoints. People also suggest topics that they would like covering in the future, and we use these to shape future plans and agendas.
Topics covered so far this year in relation to suicide in high risk groups have included:
- Suicide prevention in men
- Suicide prevention in the LGBTQI population
- Suicide prevention for perinatal women
- Bereavement by suicide
Topics planned for the rest of 2019 are:
- Suicide prevention for veterans and for those in the military
- Suicide prevention in older adults
- Suicide prevention for children and young people