Health and care leaders and representatives from voluntary sector organisations in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) have launched a new drive to help prevent suicides in the area.
Local leaders and representatives attended a virtual summit on Wednesday (16 June) to discuss the latest national and local work in suicide prevention and launch the suicide prevention initiative – calling for 10,000 people in BNSSG to complete the Zero Suicide Alliance’s free online training so they can play their part in saving lives.
The free 20 minute suicide prevention training was designed by the charity Zero Suicide Alliance and can be completed anytime from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. It requires no special expertise or knowledge and is designed to support anyone who is helping or supporting a person who may be suicidal.
Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor, Bristol City Council, who spoke at the summit and has completed the training, said:
It’s so important that we break the stigma of talking about suicide so that we can help and support others. That’s why we want to encourage 10,000 people from across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to complete this free, suicide prevention training course within the next 12 months, as part of our ambition to become a Zero Suicide region.
Suicide is a tragedy and is preventable. Even if you don’t think this is something you need right now, I would encourage everyone to take 20 minutes out of their day to complete this training and become more aware of this issue, which could help save a loved-one’s life one day.
The training, which is run by the Zero Suicide Alliance, is designed to show how to have a direct and honest conversation about suicide with friends and family. It combines facts with real life stories to show the impact it has on people’s lives.
The aim is to break the stigma of talking about the subject, suicidal thoughts and bereavement, and help the South West become a ‘zero suicide region’. It is accessible to all and can be completed online at any time.
Leaders from health and care organisations in BNSSG gathered at the online summit, which was led by Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN), to discuss some of the innovative suicide prevention initiatives happening locally, including a self-help community group, a talking group for men and a bereavement support service.
Tom Renhard, Chief Executive of IMHN, said:
We are supporting a wider regional ambition to reduce the number of people taking their own lives and doing that requires a grassroots approach as well as support from senior leadership. Our aspiration needs to be zero suicides. One life lost is one too many, and there is plenty for us all to do to ensure people know there is support available out there and play a role in improving things for the future.
As part of this we are encouraging people to sign up to the Zero Suicide Alliance training. It is short and gives a basic grounding in how to have conversations with someone who may be thinking of taking their own life. I found the training really helpful and I am confident you will too.
Dr Jonathan Hayes, Clinical Chair of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
Looking after our mental health is more important than ever. So many people experience mental ill health at some point in their life and every suicide is a tragedy that impacts families and communities in such a terrible way. I’d encourage everyone to sign up for the training – ensuring people know where to go for help and support and helping others to recognise signs of suicide is so important.
Dominic Hardisty, Chief Executive for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, added:
We see every life lost to suicide as a tragic and catastrophic event and at AWP we believe that no suicide death is inevitable. We have made the Zero Suicide Alliance training mandatory for all staff because we want to ensure that regardless of their role, our staff are adequately prepared and confident to identify when someone might be at risk of suicide.
By talking about how we are feeling and reaching out to others, we can all play our part in reducing suicide.
To sign up for the free online suicide prevention training, please visit www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training