Common Unity with some of the key ambassadors of #suicideprevention
Common Unity attended the Zero Suicide event, this event provided information on the Zero Suicide approach and considered how it could be implemented locally. The event had key speakers such as : Norman Lamb MP, Louis Appleby (CBE Chair National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory group) and Joe Rafferty (Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Trust and pioneer of Zero Suicide).
One suicide is one too many
As part our preventative work, Common Unity alongside their partnering organisation Forward For Life will be taking a targeted approach in delivering safeTALK and ASIST across the West Midlands and wider. To watch Director Terry Rigby of Forward For Life give his presentation on ManMade please visit
Why not download a copy of the ManMade news issue one or better yet visit the manmade.org.uk website for the latest information on the manmade campaign to promote men's survival.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. Every two hours, a man takes his life in the UK. ManMade | The Conference throws on the table an invitation to meet this challenge head on with personal stories and new approaches being highlighted to help men survive.
ManMade | THE CONFERENCE
“men surviving change in an ever changing world”
Has renowend keynote speakers: Jonny Benjamin, Cadi Lambert, Rohan Kaillicharan, Jamie Harrington and Sean Russell
Manmade.org.uk | twitter: @ukManMade | #ukmanmade
As ManMade was first piloted in Dudley through support of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Councils Office of Public Health, it seems only fitting that the first ManMade conference be set at Himley Hall, a 17th Century Manor House set within 180 acres of parkland within the Borough of Dudley.
Common Unity were approached by the Royal Society for Public Health to be highlighted as a best practice example of an organisation that empowers communities through Healthy Conversation. Common Unity have a longstanding trusted relationship with communities across Birmingham and wider, engaging effectively through a variety of innovative means with communities that are often viewed as hard to reach. One of the ways in which Common Unity do this is by engaging and training community facing professions to pass on positive health messages and signpost post people to services that can best meet need – One such profession is hairdressing, or more specifically, the Barbershop.
This ground breaking work, originally conceptualised in Preston, has recognised that for many African Caribbean Men, one of the only places they would truly talk about their feelings and concerns was whilst sitting at the Barbers’ Chair. Barbershops for the African Caribbean Community are seen as welcoming, safe, social hubs for opening up – Recognising this Common Unity adopted the Barbershop approach in Birmingham through the Barbershop Magazine – written by members of the African Caribbean Community for the African Caribbean Community on topics that were relevant to them.
This Birmingham Joint Commissioning Team NHS funded service has gone from strength to strength since it began in 2007 developing into the City Wide URBRUM Project that through magazines and varied Social Media avenues engages diverse communities across Birmingham on areas of life that impacts on their health and wellbeing. Alongside their Grassroots Associates specialising in supporting communities to support themselves, Common Unity continues to gain a reputation in Birmingham and wider for developing, designing and delivering forward thinking innovative programmes that have the benefit of the community at its heart.
Face painting // Barbers and Hair Styling // Hair Braiding // Nail Art // Head and Shoulder Massage // Mehndi / Henna
The Pamper Zone is a great way for you to look and feel refreshed. Why not relax, enjoy and revitalise the inner you?
The Pamper Zone was established to aid the well-being of communities through using a range of therapists and skilled entrepreneurs. The Pamper Zone was created by Common Unity to offer the citizens of Birmingham an opportunity to engage with their own selfcare and improve their well-being.
Community Events//School Fetes//Organisation Away Days//Promotional Stalls//Grand Openings//Festivals//Themed Events and more
Caron Thompson of Common Unity Giving an overview of the last 5 years of being established. This includes aims, achievements, projects partners and future plans.
Common Unity Social Enterprise is a Health and Social Care organisation specialising in working on mental health and wellbeing with ‘hard to reach’ communities. It was established in 2009 by community activists from BME communities who were also mental health professionals, and who had grown up in the inner city areas of the West Midlands. Our personal and professional experiences have formed our instincts about, and specific insights into, what works in communication with a wide range of audiences. We help individuals, communities and service providers to overcome barriers to communication and the fulfilment of potential, ensuring that services are both accessible and relevant. Common Unity has been commissioned by the Local Authority, NHS Primary Care Trust, and a number of Third Sector organisations in Birmingham and Sandwell, to support them in research and consultation with specific communities.
Suicide Crisis, a Cheltenham based charity which offers a safe space for people who have suicidal thoughts so they can be heard and supported, have been recognised for their dedication to suicide prevention in receiving The SOS Suicide Safer Community Award. Suicide Crisis was set up in 2013 by a survivor of suicidal crisis. She couldn’t find the type of support she needed, so she set about creating it in Gloucestershire. Suicide Crisis has a small team who get to know clients well, and offer continuity of care. The Team members are very well-trained, but their personal qualities (empathy, kindness and commitment) are of even great importance.
The charity is being accessed by people who say that they would not go to their GP or other services. The SOS award is a new accolade that is presented to organisations that have gone that extra mile to support communities to be suicide safer. The award was presented by Forward For Life and Common Unity who are the Birmingham based founders of the SOS Suicide Prevention Programme (www.s-o-s.org.uk). The SOS programme champions suicide prevention both across communities and within organisations with the clear goal of reducing the stigma that surrounds suicide through campaigning, local strategic support and specialist training.
Joy Hibbins, Founder and Director at Suicide Crisis insisted that two of the volunteers collect the reward –
“Janie Dimopoulos and Rupinder Kaur Bassi are receiving the award on behalf of Suicide Crisis. The award is in recognition of the work that Suicide Crisis does and it’s in particular recognition of the exceptional team that we have. Janie and Rupinder epitomise the kind of dedicated, highly skilled, caring individuals that make up our team.”
Terry Rigby, Company Director at Forward For Life, said:
“Suicide Crisis provide an exceptional service to local communities – their dedication to saving lives, enhanced by having the necessary skills to best reach out to people when they are at their lowest ebb is admirable.”
Caron Thompson, Company Director at Common Unity, said:
“For me, one of the most inspiring aspects of Suicide Crisis is that it is only down to the unwavering hard work, personal investment and time of Joy and the volunteers that this charity exists – Cheltenham and the County of Gloucestershire are very fortunate to have on the ground support from this dedicated service.”
Birmingham-based Common Unity and Forward For Life are leading the way across the West Midlands and further afield in offering the internationally recognised safeTALK and ASIST courses as a joint approach to establishing ‘Suicide Safer Communities’. They bring with them nearly 40 years of expertise and specialist knowledge in the fields of suicide prevention, mental health and well-being. Recent national and regional Public Health information has shown that Gloucestershire continues to have a much higher suicide rate than the national average. However, only a third of the people who have completed suicide in those years had used mental health services.
After receiving the first Suicide Safer Community Award presented by Forward For Life and Common Unity, Trident Reach the Peoples Charity launched its own press release on the 23rd December 2013 (see below). The press release highlights the benfits to its customers of a combined approach to suicide prevention.
A charity which is working to save lives by tackling suicide rates in Birmingham has scooped the first award of its kind in recognition of its efforts.
Trident Reach the People Charity, based in Birmingham, supports vulnerable people across the Midlands, including the homeless and people with mental health problems.
Bosses have been presented with the Suicide Safer Community Award, a new accolade presented by the Forward For Life and Common Unity Social Enterprise.
They received the award at a presentation at Trident Reach’s Washington Court homeless scheme in Birmingham last week (18th December).
The award recognises a number of life-saving initiatives at Trident Reach aimed at reducing suicides among its customers and the wider community.
It has been heavily involved in the development of a new Birmingham Suicide Prevention Strategy and action plan to reduce the incidence of suicidal behaviour across the city.
Charity staff have been trained in suicide ‘first aid’ by undertaking an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) course. The two-day skills-building workshop prepares care professionals and volunteers so they can help people having suicidal thoughts.
Staff have also received safeTALK training – a half-day course covering practical steps to help someone who is thinking of taking their own life.
Anthony McCool, Charity Lead at Trident Reach, said: “We are proud to receive this inaugural award for such life-saving and life-changing work.
“Christmas is traditionally a time of festivities and merrymaking but, for many people, it can be a time of great emotional stress. Some people will get depressed and wonder if they can carry on any more.
“But Trident Reach is dedicated to helping the most vulnerable people in our society and, through the ASIST and safeTALK training, we have helped equip our staff with the skills to ease the burden on people who feel that they have nothing more to live for.”
Terry Rigby, Company Director at Forward For Life, said: “Trident Reach is leading the way in its work to save lives by having the necessary skills to best reach out to people when they are at their lowest ebb.”
Caron Thompson, Company Director at Common Unity, said: “It is only fitting that Trident Reach, because of the charity’s dedication to the suicide prevention agenda, should be the first to receive our Suicide Safer Community Award.”
Birmingham-based Common Unity and Forward For Life are leading the way across the West Midlands and further afield in offering the internationally recognised safeTALK and ASIST courses as a joint approach to establishing ‘Suicide Safer Communities’. They bring with them nearly 40 years of expertise and specialist knowledge in the fields of suicide prevention and mental health.
Trident Reach provides housing, care and support services to vulnerable people with a range of needs across the Midlands region, including homeless people, those with disabilities or mental health problems, the elderly and people fleeing domestic abuse.
Ref: Published by Kerri Smith for Reach the People Charity
Organisations that go that extra mile to prevent suicide should be recognised
Suicide Prevention is an area that we feel should be highest priority across our communities and the health and social care sector at all levels. We also feel that when an organisation has gone that extra mile to help communities become Suicide Safer, such an organisation should be recognised for its hard work and dedication to reducing suicidal behaviours.
On the 18th December 2013, the Chief Executive of Trident Reach the People Charity was presented with the very first SOS Suicide Safer Community Award by Common Unity Social Enterprise and our suicide prevention partner organisation, Forward For Life.
The award was given in recognition of the fact that Trident Reach has actively embraced the suicide prevention agenda at an operational level and strategic level both within their own organisation through staff engagement with safeTALK and ASIST courses and through being an active member of the Birmingham SOS Strategic Think Tank which is currently developing a suicide prevention strategy to be tabled in Birmingham next year.
A Combined Approach to realising Suicide Safer Communities
At Common Unity and Forward for Life we believe there is one solution we can promote alongside the SOS programme in realising Suicide Safer Communities and it’s a very simple one. The safeTALK course can train up to 30 people in half a day – this training serves as gatekeeper to individuals who are considering suicide. We believe that through greater engagement in safeTALK at an organisational and community level, people can be directed to the appropriate support with the outcome of saving a life.
The challenge is this – safeTALK trained individuals are expected to refer people at risk of suicide to ready, willing and able individuals who can implement Suicide First Aid Support (ASIST) through an agreed safety plan – however, organisations who have staff trained in ASIST are limited in number across the region and therefore continued support could be compromised due to a lack of ready access to ASIST trained individuals.
Our Combined Approach
sees a way through this via brokering agreements with a range of stakeholders to sign up to engaging in safeTALK at a proportional level. This will provide the eyes and ears for every organisation to intervene where suicide ideation is a possible consideration. In addition to this, organisations can engage with ASIST – Common Unity and Forward for Life believe that through proportional representation both within organisations and community groups stakeholders will have both the gatekeeping aspect (safeTALK) and the Suicide First Aid (ASIST) embedded.
Common Unity and Forward for Life realise that austerity measures mean that investment in training is difficult to raise. However, with the relatively low costs for implementation of safeTALK and the comparatively low costs of ASIST through our training, the overall financial impact in comparison to the relevant gains is absolutely minimal when we consider that the cost of each and every suicide is in the region of £1,450,000 per death by suicide.
Common Unity in association with Forward For Life Launched the SOS Suicide Prevention Campaign in Birmimgham on the 1th September 2013 as part of Suicide Prevention Week.
Caron Thompson Company Director for Common Unity invited Clarke Clarlisle Chairman for the Professional Football Association (PFA) to support the SOS Event as it is a subject that is very close to Clarke.
Clarke is a survivor of suicide, he tried to take his own life in 2001. Since the tragic suicide of Gary Speed in 2011, Clarke Carlisle investigates depression and even suicide in British football and speaks to young players, managers and Gary Speed's family to find out why footballers are suffering in silence.
event held at the newly built Lighthouse, Lozells, on 30th May 2013, was attended by over 100 young people.
The event, organised by Common Unity and was designed to promote the URBRUM Youth Inclusion Well-being Project. Though the weather on the day was grey and chilly with the occasional glimpse of the sun, there was a lot on offer to brighten the day. There were free haircuts, Henna, Nail Art, and Message. Some of the young people enjoyed playing football and basketball.
The musical entertainment was supplied by Touch Agency.
A special feature of the day was the award ceremony presentation to members of Edgbaston United, a local football team sponsored by URBRUM.
The event was also a great opportunity to engage with young people around issues such as drugs, alcohol, sexual health, diet, wellbeing, art, music and sport.
Special thanks to the Princess Trust, Edgbaston United, Pertemps, Aquarius, Trident Reach Charity, Health Exchange, Freshwinds, Touch Agency and others for their support. We would also like to thank all the volunteers who worked so tirelessly to make the event a success.
This is a thank you to everybody that attended the SOS Sort Out Suicide event and made it a success, I would also like to give a big thank you to Forward For Life, for hosting the event.
"I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better." G. C. Lichtenberg
The event started with networking and a basic discussion on suicide prevention and how Common Unity and Forward For Life are trying to tackle this problem using ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) by creating Suicide Safer Communities by use of the SOS Campaign (s-o-s.org.uk).
Forward For Life and Common Unity gave a indepth structured approach on how to tackle this issue one step at a time. The Prentation consisted of:
• The S-O-S and what it is.
• The Background and the history.
• Aims of the Campaign
• Campaign Event
• Use of materials
• Myths and Facts • Why Get Involved? • These approaches are Why work with us? • Why Common Unity and Forward For Life
For more information on the SOS Campaign please visit s-o-s.org.uk
The SOS Campaign is a ground-breaking programme that works to prevent suicide through a number of approaches. All aspects of SOS directly challenge the stigma and taboo associated with dying from suicide – a stigma that is all too prevalent in our society both locally and globally. Most importantly, SOS is a grassroots programme that looks to work alongside communities and local service providers to ensure society is Suicide Safer.