NCISH Self-harm and Suicide Prevention Learning Day – 5 March 2019

Frank, one of BIMHN’s members, recently attended the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH)’s recent learning day in London. These semi-regular sessions are an opportunity for healthcare organisations to provide updates on various suicide prevention initiatives taking place up and down the country, with an emphasis on shared learning, with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of lives lost to suicide nationally. He has produced a write-up of what was discussed on the day. 

The session was informative as it offered the opportunity to hear from other STP (sustainability and transformation partnership) areas about their suicide prevention projects. Starting off the day was Professor Louis Appleby from NCISH (National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health) who gave an update on recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) data, which includes death by suicide by age group for males 45-49 years of age; ONS figures confirm that in 2018 there were 92 deaths by suicide in prisons.

Professor Appleby went on to inform that the NHS 10-Year Long Term Plan includes that all STP areas/Local Suicide Prevention Plans should include a diversity of crisis support should be developed along with bereavement support be made available to families, carers, friends, and supporters.

One of the creative suicide reduction projects was presented by Cornwall & Isles of Scilly’s Get Set To Go programme; a 12 week block of physical activities which, if successful as a pilot, will be offered at 2-3 additional location to offer easier accessibility. Referrals to the programme which offers peer support is offered at 4 tiers depending levels of needs, and additional outreach support has been extended to local foodbanks to raise awareness of the programme with users of the services this programme has local and national support from the charity MIND.

One interesting talk was from Michael Bennett, Head of Wellbeing at the Professional Football Association (PFA), who’s members cover the 4 professional divisions in England and include the Women’s Super League, where support/signposting is available to all current and former professional football players for the rest of their lives. Michael explained that awareness of mental health and request for help and support has increased overs the past couple of years by over 100%. The PFA offer a 24/7 support line that offers additional support from support players that have been trained in counselling and can emphasise with those that they aim to support ‘1-2-1’ counselling can be offered with additional sessions as required.

Jez Spencer, from Second Step, leads the Hope Project, which supports men who may be at risk of suicide across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area. Jez explained that the project aims to built an collaborative relationship with service users who have self harmed or are at risk of suicide which in no small part can be as a result of benefits, housing, or other difficulties. Once the causes of distress are identified, short-term support along with a recovery plan with by jointly agreed to improve their situation of mental wellbeing, any may use very brief interventions/motivational interviewing interventions.

The Hope Project will focus from March to May on users of Foodbanks to raise awareness, and has funding until October 2020; further funding will be subject to progress and evaluation.

Overall it was a good shared learning session with some good innovative projects running in different STP areas. I feel that it would have been useful to be able to offer comments, both positive and not so positive, as a means of peer supported learning – maybe next time.