World Suicide Prevention Day 2018: Working together to prevent suicide

Partners throughout Warwickshire and Coventry are coming together to mark World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) in a series of events across the region on Monday 10 September.

The theme of this year’s WSPD is ‘working together,’ recognising that collaboration is one of the most important elements in preventing suicide.  Information events will be taking place in Coventry, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton and Rugby throughout the day, joined by different suicide and mental health support services. The aim is to raise awareness amongst communities and show that support is available for those who may be struggling to cope.

Every 90 minutes in the UK, someone takes their own life. Between 2012 and 2017, Warwickshire Coroners recorded 325 deaths by suicide. This figure compares to 161 people who were killed in road accidents in Warwickshire during the same time period, reflecting the fact that deaths from suicide nationally are the leading cause of death for males in three age groups (5-19, 20-34 and 35-49 years), and the leading cause of death for females in two age groups (5-19 and 20-34).

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (CWPT), which provides mental health services for people of all ages, will be in Nuneaton town centre on Monday 10 September along with representatives from the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy, the Kaleidoscope Plus Group, Veterans’ Mental Health service and men’s mental health campaign It Takes Balls To Talk.  In addition, Wellbeing for Warwickshire, a partnership between Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and Springfield Mind which delivers mental health support services to people across Warwickshire, will have staff present in Nuneaton, Rugby, Warwick and Stratford where members of the public can find out more. Also, the Rise service, a partnership between CWPT and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind that delivers mental health support to young people across Coventry and Warwickshire, will be providing a wide range of resources to schools to raise awareness of suicide and mental health issues.

Dr Sharon Binyon, Medical Director at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We have been working with our partners to raise awareness of suicide prevention plus improving access to mental health and emotional wellbeing services in the area. This has included such initiatives as the ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’ campaign, the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy and working with MERIT NHS Trusts on providing mental health first aid training to organisations.”

Cllr Les Caborn, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Every death by suicide is a tragedy and impacts families, friends and the wider community. Our support for World Suicide Prevention day is a part of the council’s ongoing commitment to working with our partners to reducing the rates and providing better support for those bereaved by suicide.

“This year a new contract has been awarded to provide support to people who have been bereaved by suicide in Warwickshire. The Kaleidoscope Plus Group are running sessions in venues across the county and will specifically aim to help those bereaved by suicide to start to cope with their loss and find support from others who have experienced a similar loss.”

Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet member for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council, said: “We are proud to be working with partners to address a serious issue that we don’t talk about enough.

“I am pleased to be able to support this campaign and encourage others to show their support for world suicide prevention day. Just one post in support of the day is a message out to someone in need that we want to help make a difference to.”

Following the award of £351,610 from NHS England, the Coventry and Warwickshire ‘Better Health, Better Care, Better Value’ programme is strengthening local suicide prevention programmes.  The work will focus on supporting men, tackling stigma and isolation, and ensuring there are safe drop in places available for men in their community. The work will include developing the existing suicide prevention campaign ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’, and expanding to reach additional community assets such as barbers and workplaces.  Evidence based mental health awareness and suicide prevention training will also be aimed at non-mental health professionals including social care, primary care, A&E, Job Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau staff. This will run alongside developing a network of champions within healthcare settings to promote awareness, develop a compassionate culture within services and to drive an ambition towards zero suicide.

It Takes Balls To Talk and the Kaleidoscope Plus Group will also be holding information events on Saturday 8 September – It Takes Balls To Talk will attend the Wasps Rugby Football Club game at the Ricoh Arena while the Kaleidoscope Plus Group will be present at Warwick market.

For information about a range of mental health and wellbeing services, including face to face, telephone, online and self-help resources available in Coventry and Warwickshire, please visit: warwickshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth, www.coventry.gov.uk/mentalhealth or www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk

You may also find it helpful to view the Suicide Prevention campaign for Coventry and Warwickshire, targeted at men: ittakesballstotalk.com

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free at any time, from any phone on 116 123 (UK and ROI) or visit the Samaritans website to find details of the nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.