Black Lives Matter

So let’s face the facts as we know them….

3 out of every 4 deaths by suicide in England are by men.

Men are struggling. They find it hard to engage with existent mainstream health and social care services and often would prefer to suffer in silence than seek help. So it stands to reason, there is a need to ensure that where services make a greater impact through being man focussed in respect of suicide prevention, then such preventative services and awareness raising opportunities should be developed; and they are; Targeted approaches to preventing suicide amongst men are hot on the agenda across Health and Social Care as rightly they should be…right? But let’s look again because there is something being missed here… or not being highlighted…

If we look at the most recent suicide data for England supplied in September 2016, with a little bit of investigation, there appears to be a clear yet under-stated fact – the number of women attempting and dying by suicide in England is increasing and nobody seems to be really saying why that might be or what can be done, but it is there – in your face.

So what’s going on?

There are a number of potential reasons why this shift may be occurring, but whilst the time passes for the ‘facts’ to be outed further, we need action and maybe there is a simple way forward for this action. Whilst I accept that there is a need for targeted approaches in respect of suicide prevention for specific groups (such as ManMade), the fact that suicide knows no boundaries in respect of who it affects means that suicide prevention should hold no boundaries as to who engages with it.


Suicide is not an illness and it is not only people with a mental health need that are at risk; It’s not about age, class, gender or sex – but it is about crisis, it is about hopelessness and the person at risk not feeling able to find a way out of the situation other than by suicide. Suicide behaviour effects all walks of life and has a huge negative ripple effect across communities and it is only through a concerted effort across all sectors of our communities and all professions at all levels that we can start to make some headway in reducing the number of people that die by suicide.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide please call Samaritans free on 116 123

If you live in the Birmingham area and want to know what local support services are out there then why not check out The Urbrum Waiting Room

NSPA National Suicide Prevention Alliance

NSPA Newsletter – June 2016 Update

If you have an event or publication you’d like us to share, or suggestions for things you’d like to see in the newsletter, please contact [email protected]

In this month’s newsletter.

1. Contact us
2. Latest from the NSPA
3. Welcome to
4. From our members
5. This month’s interesting picks
6. Policy, Briefings & Campaigns
7. Funding
8. Research
9. Events

If you have an event or publication you’d like us to share, or suggestions for things you’d like to see in the newsletter, please contact [email protected]

Latest from the NSPA

Annual Members Meeting

On July 5th NSPA members and supporters came together for our annual get-together at NCVO in central London. The day covered a review of NSPA activity over the past 12 months, getting input into future work, members presenting on their own activities and opportunities to network.



Summary from the day:

•    It’s been a good year for the alliance as set out in the NSPA’s presentation to open the event. 2015/16 has seen a 42% increase in NSPA membership as well as nearly 50 new supporters joining. The new post of ‘Membership and Communications Officer’ was filled and a new look newsletter was launched. A second national suicide prevention conference was successfully held at the Oval, along with taking on new collaborative projects such as developing guidance for local authorities in suicide prevention planning with Public Health England (PHE). The NSPA released a new three-year strategy and strengthened their partnership working with Support After Suicide who formally became a special interest group within the NSPA.

•    Helen Garnham, Suicide Prevention Lead at PHE, spoke in more detail about work with the NSPA and a wide range of stakeholders in developing guidance for local authorities in effective suicide prevention. The resource will be ready for publication in the coming months and provides stepped guidance on setting up a multi-agency partnership, developing a local suicide prevention strategy and action plan plus understanding local trends and data. Over the next 12 months PHE will be looking to deliver a series of ‘masterclasses’ around the country to support the resource, as well as taking forward recommendations from the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

•    A number of NSPA members, including Network Rail, Samaritans, Farming Community Network and Harmless, have been working on ideas for a campaign aimed at men for World Suicide Prevention Day 2016. Some great ideas and feedback were gathered from the table-based discussion on the day, which will be fed into plans. More information to follow about how this campaign is shaping up and ways for members to get involved.

•    Mind talked about development of the resource ‘Responding to suicidal content online – best-practice guidelines’ which were launched earlier in the year. Mind collaborated with a number of NSPA members and drew on their experience of managing their online community ‘Elefriends’. The resource utilised an expert working group, the involvement of 28 different organisations, and included people with lived experience. Further work is now being done in ensuring that the resource is reaching its target audience.


•    The morning finished with a table based discussion on developing resources and information for our members, looking at the best parts of being an NSPA member, how we can improve, what members want to share and what they would like to see on the website.
In the afternoon some of our members presented their work to the group. The Cheshire & Merseyside Public Health Collaborative (CHAMPS) talked about their experiences of looking at local data and the value of local suicide audits, allowing for local authorities to make more targeted approaches to suicide prevention. East Sussex County Council presented on ‘The Place of Calm’, developed as a place of safety to address aftercare issues and reduce Section 136 cases. Here people can spend up to 24 hours with practical and emotional support. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) talked about water-related suicides and their work; suspected self-harm are the third largest category of incidents RNLI responds to. RNLI are at the early stages of developing an organisational stance on suicide prevention, developing partnerships, and looking at how they can collaboratively contribute. Finally, Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust talked about building a new mental health hospital and their collaborative work with the local community.

If members not in attendance would like copies of the presentations from the day, please email [email protected]

Election results

The results of the NSPA Steering Group election were formally announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting. Of the 10 elected positions on the NSPA Steering Group, there were five positions up for election this year.

Competition for the positions was high, with eight members putting candidates forward. We also had a great response from the membership, with 66% of our member organisations voting.

We are delighted to announce the following appointments to the Steering Group:ee6ac0e4-ba3f-4501-a744-8e1b976e939a

We are delighted that Network Rail and PAPYRUS have been re-elected to the Steering Group and welcome new members, Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service, Men’s Minds Matter and the Royal College of Nursing.

You can find the full list of Steering Group members along with biographies on the NSPA website. We’d also like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for their invaluable contributions to the NSPA over the past three years. Both organisations have been instrumental in supporting the development of the NSPA and although they are stepping down from the Steering Group, will continue to be active members of the alliance.

Parliamentary responsibility for mental health

Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt has decided to step down. Following the recent changes in government, the Department of Health has three new Ministers, which has meant a change in their portfolios and responsibilities.


The Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt has decided he will lead on mental health. Nicola Blackwood has been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Innovation, and will also hold responsibility for mental health and suicide prevention. NSPA continues to work closely with the Policy Team at the Department of Health. We will update members on any further changes to Ministerial portfolios relating to suicide prevention and mental health as we are able to. Since our last newsletter Forward for Life, Common Unity, Nottingham City Council, Think2Speak and Suicide Bereavement UK have joined the NSPA.

Please join us in welcoming them.
If you’d like to learn more, click their name to visit their membership page.

From our members

This month we’re featuring a Faculty of Public Health-award-winning initiative from Torbay Council.

Gerry Cadogan, Public Health Principal at Torbay Council tells us about ‘The Lion’s Barber Collective’:

“Tom Chapman is no ordinary barber. When some people lose a friend to suicide, they find it difficult enough to cope with, but Tom realised that he was in a unique position in that his clients tended to confide in him whilst he was cutting their hair, and that whilst they were in his chair he could get to know them better and develop a bond. And he had links all over the country because of his barber colleagues.

“So the Lions Barber Collective was formed. Now it has become an international collective with interest from all over the world, but basically it is a group of top barbers who have come together with the aim of raising awareness about suicide prevention. Through colleagues, Tom has links with PAPYRUS and Pieta House in Eire, but he is working really closely with Torbay Public Health with the goal of reducing male suicide in Torbay, which has an increasing number of male suicides occurring.

Tom Chapman pictured

“For Torbay Public Health this is a brilliant opportunity to undertake real public health in the workplace, and together with Tom we have been able to raise some funds to develop information leaflets, undertake customer surveys, and recently to pilot the first ‘Barbertalk’, a suicide awareness programme for barbers and hairdressers, which includes a virtual reality film that has been developed with the Hiblio team from Torbay hospital. From a trainer’s perspective, this was a challenge as it takes place in the Barber’s shop, with the mirror being a key player in the relationship. Encouraging the barber to notice body language-what the person is and isn’t saying, and importantly being able to provide information on options and local services comes naturally to Tom but the training tries to equip other barbers to be able to do the same. Realising the potential of using barbers’ shops to get across public health messages is another important part of the initiative and strength and Tom has had messages printed on stickers which are placed inside hair gel lids as an everyday reminder of a key statistic.

“However well the message is getting across to the general public, such as through Tom’s high profile hair promotion events and his appearances in media and magazines, the reality of the challenge that we have set ourselves became apparent when we undertook a customer survey. Whilst men were waiting for their appointment, they were handed a quick survey which asked them to choose the biggest killer of men under forty-five (suicide), and who they would talk to if they felt hopeless – a range of options were given. They were then asked to put their response into an envelope and seal it before they handed it back to the receptionist. They could see that it was completely confidential. When I analysed the responses after one month, the shock for Tom and myself was that although 50% said that they would talk to friends, 50% of men said that they would not talk to anyone. That is a sobering fact. There is still so much to do.”

The Lions Collective project won the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) Mental Health Award, and you can watch the FPH’s video about Torbay’s work to prevent male suicide here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the project, you can email Gerry directly. [email protected]

This month’s interesting picks

Applications now open to become a Time to Change Young Champion
Do you know anyone aged 16-25 who has experience of mental health problems and is passionate about tackling stigma around mental health?

Young Champions are trained to tackle stigma and discrimination, from blogging for Time to Change and speaking at local events, to dispelling myths about mental health amongst friends. They will join a growing group of young people who are changing how we all think and act about mental health.

Deadline for applications: 12th August 2016

Training will take place on 10th and 11th September in London and full details of the role are available online.

Please pass this opportunity on to anyone you think might like to apply. Time to Change are also particularly looking to increase the number of male young champions.

Policy, Briefings & Campaigns.

Health Select Committee – inquiry on suicide

The House of Commons Health Select Committee has launched a new inquiry into Suicide Prevention.  For those of you that may be interested in making a submission, the Committee is inviting written evidence with a deadline of Friday 9 September 2016.  Oral evidence is expected to be taken in October.  Further information and the terms of reference of the inquiry can be found here.

The terms of reference have been published, and submissions to the Committee are welcome to address any or all of these points.

Submissions should not exceed 3000 words and should be submitted using the online written submission form. The Health Committee membership has also been released.

The NSPA will be making a submission to the inquiry and a separate communication about how to have a say in any joint response will follow.

Implementation framework published for the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health

Further to the launch of the Mental Health Taskforce’s report ‘Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’, NHS England have published an accompanying implementation framework, outlining how the NHS and wider partners plan to take the required action to transform the provision of mental health.

The document outlines the changes people can expect to see on the ground, as well as outlining the new funds that will be made available to Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Read the full announcement from NHS England here.

Meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Suicide & Self-Harm Prevention – Wednesday 6th July

The group met to consider the local and national implementation of suicide prevention policy and Abigail Gallop, Senior Advisor at the Local Government Association (LGA), discussed some of the work they are doing to prevent suicide. She covered that councils are very interested in the ‘Zero Suicide’ initiative, but that there is concern it could lead to a blame culture when suicides do happen. The LGA has been working closely with the Government. They have inputted into PHE’s draft guidance which will be published shortly. They welcome the cross-departmental review and the refresh of the suicide prevention strategy which are expected, but cautioned that councils need resources to make change happen. Local councils are good at making the most of the resources that do exist through partnerships. They are doing much work on perinatal mental health, and will be launching a campaign before the end of the year.

Rt. Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Social Care discussed his upcoming retirement from frontbench politics, which he had announced the day before the meeting. He plans to continue working on suicide prevention when he is no longer in post, and looks forward to passing on his knowledge to the new minister, including the importance of the APPG and the knowledge within the group. He referenced that the decision to leave the EU would mean that future resources are unlikely to be available but there is much more than can be done with existing resources.


The Janice Sinson Research Award

The Mental Health Foundation is welcoming submissions for the annual Janice Sinson Mental Health Research Award. The award will highlight key research contributions in mental health by post-graduate researchers.

Submissions by the 11th of August at noon are invited from current full-time or part-time registered post-graduate students within the UK or those who have graduated in the last 12 months. The topic of research is mental health, including public mental health, children and older people’s mental health, severe mental illness and mental health of people with learning disabilities. The Mental Health Foundation would particularly welcome research that adds to knowledge about what works to prevent mental health problems.

Eligibility and assessment criteria can be found online alongside details on the application process and the application form. The prize includes a blog, a news announcement on the Mental Health Foundation’s Website and a sum of £500 for the selected winner, whose work will be promoted by the Mental Health Foundation.


New study finds no evidence of weekend increase in mental health patient suicide

A new study carried out by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide has found that suicide deaths by mental health patients are actually lower at the weekend.

Professor Nav Kapur, from The University of Manchester and the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, led the study. Professor Kapur said: “We wanted to explore a possible weekend effect on patient suicide.  We looked at specific groups being treated in hospital or the community who might be particularly vulnerable to changes in care.  We actually found a markedly reduced suicide risk at the weekend.  We also found a reduced risk in people who were admitted at the weekend.”

The paper was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Watch a video of Professor Nav Kapor talking about the study.
(Two minutes long)

Final research report from Queer Futures on LGBT youth self-harm and suicide released

Queer Futures is a national study investigating the self-harm and suicide of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. It is funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme and the research is being led by Dr Elizabeth McDermott, Senior Lecturer based at Lancaster University. It aims to produce knowledge that can contribute to ‘the Government’s Preventing suicide in England’ (2012) Strategy.

The report highlights the difficulties that LGBTQ young people faced when thinking about asking for help. ‘These difficulties stemmed from their isolation, fear and shame that had developed from their experiences of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, sexual and gender norms, managing their sexual and gender identity across life domains, being unable to talk and other life crises.’

The study identified that more ‘research is needed on the ways that help can be provided and specifically designed for LGBTQ young people.’ There were many poor experiences with mental health services, who ‘were in the main found to be unhelpful. Queer Futures have called for ‘vital’ further research investigating why this is and how these services can be improved.

It is hoped that the results of this study will assist in understanding the needs of young LGBTQ people when they are in distress and therefore assist in reducing the risk of self-harm and suicide.’

You can read the summary here or visit the website for the full report.

For more information on this study please contact [email protected]

University of Liverpool; participation call

Laura Abbate is conducting this research as part of her undergraduate degree at the University of Liverpool, which is being supervised by Dr Kate M Bennett.

Please see the attached information sheet for ‘Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Studies of Bereavement in Adults: An insight into family and friends affected by suicide’

Laura is seeking participants who are willing to discuss their experiences, thoughts, and emotions of being bereaved through suicide for a one off interview. Either face to face, by skype or telephone, which ever they participants are most comfortable with.

The interview will be recorded and then transcribed, any personal information will be omitted and only initials will be used.

If you are interested in taking part or would like more information please contact Laura directly:-
[email protected]


Don’t forget to take a look at the NSPA Events page.
Updates this month include:

Suicide Prevention: Developing Your Local Approach
Thursday 22nd September

DrugFAM 8th Annual Bereaved by Addiction Conference ‘Your grief, your journey – experiencing the same thing differently’
High Wycombe
Saturday 1st October

Child Bereavement UK
Suicide – The Impact on Families
Thursday 8th December

Claire Walker
Membership and Communications Officer (NSPA)
National Suicide Prevention Alliance, The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey, KT17 2AF
Telephone: 0208 394 8275 | Switchboard: 020 8394 8300 | E-mail: [email protected] | Web:

Samaritans, Incorporated in England and Wales, a Company limited by guarantee Registered Number 757372, and a Registered Charity Number 219432, having its Registered Office at The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey, KT17 2AF, and a Charity in Scotland Registered Number SC040604. This email is from Samaritans. This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be subject to copyright and are intended solely for the use of the person to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please advise [email protected] or telephone 020 8394 8300 and delete this message immediately from your system. Any opinions expressed by an individual within this email are those of that individual unless otherwise stated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Samaritans. Internet communications including emails cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error free. While Samaritans has taken steps to control the spread of viruses on its systems it cannot guarantee that this email (including any attachments) is free of any virus or other harmful matter and accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage resulting from the recipient receiving, opening or using it.

ManMade | The Conference

We hope you have your ticket ready for Man Made the Conference June 13th 2016! with just 4 days to go, there are very limited spaces available and now tickets are sold on a first come first serve bases. For those of you who haven’t booked yet, or are maybe new to ManMade…here is a little information for you.

ManMade: The Conference // This is a Man’s World?
We know that suicide does not discriminate. It impacts across the board, on all walks of life at all levels in modern day society. But still… statistically…men account for over 75% of all completed suicides in England.

slidemm1With Keynote Speakers including Jonny Benjamin, Rohan Kallicharan and Chief Inspector Sean Russell as well as a variety of workshops being delivered by leaders in their field, ManMade The Conference is a unique opportunity to consider ways forward to hit the devastating issue of suicide amongst men head on. 

If you have booked your place(s) that’s fantastic! We cant wait to see you at ManMade | The Conference Men Surviving Change in an ever Changing World June 13th 2016 click here to go to
However, if you haven’t booked and want to come, please be aware that it’s not long to go and there are verylimited places remaining,

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give Terry Rigby a call on 07585776800 or email him at [email protected]


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.


“men surviving change in an ever changing world”

Has renowend keynote speakers: Jonny Benjamin, Cadi Lambert, Rohan Kaillicharan, Jamie Harrington and Sean Russell | 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.

ManMade // Pete Trainor

It’s been a week since ManMade | The Conference at Himley Hall nr. Dudley there’s been a lot to think about. I was fortunate enough to spend time with the other speakers on the lead up to the conference and each one them, along with all the organisers, are inspirational, brave and fighting this epidemic in their own way. All of them are helping to make it easier for men to find help without shame or stigma. It feels like we’re just at the tip of the iceberg on this one too.

If over a third of local authorities do not collect information about suicide, and do not have a suicide prevention action plans, or a multi-agency suicide prevention groups, then the issue is going to need to be tackled outside of the system.

As I explained on Monday 13th June to all the delegates, I’m fighting the problem with the gifts that I’ve been given — technology, design, psychology & a passion to disrupt traditional problems with unconventional methods. I’m also a man, so I know full well how tough it can be to carry on in this ever-changing world. I’m a fairly typical bloke about a lot of things and have had many a “crisis of masculinity” in which I failed to seek help even when catastrophic events hit my life. It could have led to tragic consequences for my families and I’m thankful it didn’t. I’m one of the lucky ones.   I’ve worked in technology for 20 years now and have been fortunate enough to work all over the world, with the biggest tech companies on the planet. When we set the business up several years ago, we vowed to use all the technological knowhow we’d accumulated and all the emerging technology we’re exploring with our clients, to actually do some good for society. We could build you a behavioural analytics platform that tracks browsing behaviour to sell people better products, or we could use exactly the same technology and build a platform that helps people with more human issues.

The rising suicide rates among men should be treated as a national public health issue on a par with smoking, obesity or pollution and yet the government does so little to support the amazing organisations tackling the problem. So I figured — maybe we could have a crack at helping there.

A large portion of men never talk to anyone about their problems, variously because they feel ashamed, do not want to discuss feelings or simply don’t “want to make a fuss”. What if we could give these men something they are happy to talk about? There’s a generation of men whose adult lives have been marked by major social changes affecting the workplace and family. They’re in pain.

They don’t have a way of offloading all that stress and inner turmoil that speaking so often releases. Maybe technology can help them to talk?   In the technology world we recently hit an inflection point that’s going to give us a huge opportunity to do what I always dreamed we could do — help vulnerable people, even before they know they need help. Artificial intelligence, which has always been the subject of science fiction, is now mature enough to handle some of the most complex challenges. Perhaps even the kinds of human challenges that traditionally a trained professional would be relied upon to handle. Now, that statement might sound controversial, but I just want to point out that we have to train a machine to learn in much the same way that a human needs to train to be a fully qualified professional.

So we can really get a machine on par, if not smarter than a human on any given subject. The real challenge comes with empathy  — because surely that’s a trait that only humans can learn, right? To a degree yes, but we now have such sophisticated emotional and sentiment analytics software at our disposal, that we can generate dialogues between a human and a machine that are so intelligent and delivered in such an elegant style, that they become almost as good, if not better than the real thing. It’s worth also keeping in mind that artificial intelligence doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t eat, it can’t make mistakes or have a bad day and it can service tens, hundreds, thousands, even unlimited numbers of people simultaneously.

The implications, although uncomfortable to some, are profound and game changing for others.

In my talk at ManMade I covered the three types of artificial intelligence, from narrow (basic decision support tools) to general (services like Siri) through to super intelligence (cognitive intelligence) which is already used by a lot of companies to sell us more products or monitor our patterns in order to market to us in a more tailored way and all this is going on while suicide, like a virus we don’t fully understand, is killing men in record numbers. It kills three times as many British men as women, although nothing has ever adequately explained why. While almost all other leading causes of death are being slowly eroded by medical and social progress, deaths caused by suicide are at their highest for decades.

So it seems such an incredible waste not to use these wonderful, powerful technological advancements on tackling the bigger issues, rather than trying to sell more shiny things to people.   Let’s just imagine a man who is lonely, introverted with difficulties expressing his feelings. He’s unhappy because of his impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart. He’s connected to his phone almost constantly because the void created by his loneliness is filled with hours browsing the internet, reading news (which is usually contributing to the unhappiness!) being on social media and so on.

What if I could give that man a talking operating system with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve like a human being. He can choose the gender and personality of this operating system and it will adapt very quickly to the individual just by listening to his voice bio-metrics, by reading all the environmental and other data factors from that smart phone. It can’t judge him because it’s not programmed to judge — just support. The artificial intelligence has the ability to learn and grow psychologically, and bond with the man over discussions about past times, life events and maybe even eventually learn to talk to the man about the factors that make him so lonely and unhappy. It’s Socratic, so it asks a lot of questions and he’s happy to talk, because he knows he’s not being judged. It’s literally ‘artificial’ and ‘intelligent’.

It might sound like science fiction, it might also sound a little sad to some people who think our reliance on technology is already eroding some of our humanity, but I see the opposite — an opportunity to give some vulnerable people back something missing.

I get the impression that we still think that the type of men who will die by suicide are the unwell, the disturbed, the unlucky; the ones who stumble at life’s biggest hurdles and are too weak to get back up. But in reality 75 per cent of people who take their own lives have either never been diagnosed with a mental health problem or been in touch with mental health services in the previous year and only five per cent of people who do suffer from depression go on to take their own lives — they’re what society would deem to be normal. But they still need someone to ask them how they are everyday. Someone to talk with, someone to analyse behaviour in intimate detail and provide help, wisdom, and guidance and potentially even warn a family member, friend or professional if it is felt that the man is a danger to himself.

When asked what counts as emotional support, many men do not describe relationships based primarily on ‘talking about feelings.’ What we count as support is ‘being there’, ‘being alongside’ and understanding based on personal experience, or knowledge of the person, and being reachable if needed. We can do that with technology in so many ways.

Let start to conclude by telling you about an experiment we recently conducted with 200 male volunteers who were studied using a chatbot we’d built that asked men questions about how they felt about life. On the back of the chatbot was a powerful sentiment analysis tool to track how the men responded. We told half of them the chatbot was being controlled by a person (“like a puppet”), while the other half were told it was computer-controlled (“fully-automated”) and there was no human on the other end.

The volunteers who thought they were talking to a computer tended to engage in less “impression management” and also displayed emotions like sadness more intensely they also said they felt less afraid to disclose personal details about themselves than those who talked with the supposedly human-controlled program. Who says the machines aren’t as valuable as people?   At Nexus we want to build a future where stretched, professional people are augmented by smart, accessible, beautiful technology. We believe the future of supporting men of all ages, in an ever changing world, is predictive, reactive, artificial intelligent support and lies between two important things: anonymity and rapport.

We’re not trying to diminish the role of the professional in this battle against suicide; we’re trying to take up some of the slack. If this kind of approach, using technology like artificial intelligence, is enough to keep somebody vulnerable talking in the black spot between an alert and a response from a community mental health team or the police? Is that itself not worth exploring? I vote yes.

About Pete Trainor & Nexus   Pete Trainor is a behavioural designer, mental health campaigner, accidental polymath and founder of Nexus, The Human Centred Design Company. He talks all over the world on creative & social technologies & the physiological & psychological effects on their audiences. Pete regularly appears in UK national and international press as an analyst on mental health, digital media, creative industries, emergent technologies, and tech markets. He has a very simple mantra for the business: Don’t do things better, do better things.   @petetrainor / @nexushcd /

ManMade|The Conference was organised by Midlands-based social enterprises Forward for Life and Common Unity. Together, they conceptualised, designed and delivered ManMade, an innovative peer-led support service aimed at reducing male suicide. Initially piloted and recommissioned in the Midlands, the developers of ManMade are looking to establish it as an approach further afield. Terry Rigby – Co-Founder of ManMade @ukManMade // @forwardFORlife  // e. [email protected] t. 07585776800

If you are having thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone else please go to The Urbrum Waiting Room Or contact – Samaritans // Listening service – 24 hours a day, any day – CALL 116 123 (UK, ROI) // EMAIL [email protected] CALM // Suicide Prevention support for Men (5pm – Midnight) CALL 0800 58 58 58 // SMS (text messsage) 07537 404717

Men and Suicide theres no strength in silence

Men and Suicide there's no strength in silence


Suicide kills 6500 people across the UK each year. Three quarters of all suicides are by men. Benefit Streets’ Dee Kelly talks to Birmingham based Forward For Life and Common Unity to understand why Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK and what solutions there might be to reduce this silent killer. @therealdeekelly @BigCentreTV @common_unity_ @forwardForlife @PauletteHamilto Freeview ch8 virgin media ch159 or follow the link below Big thank you to Prod. Harlow Beats for Music Rain (Prod. Harlow beats) played during the beginning [email protected] !!Important Disclaimer!! This is an edited version for YouTube, The full version was created and produced by


Suicide Prevention Raises Money For Local Charity

Suicides devastate communities and supporting those bereaved by suicide is a mammoth task in its own right. With over 6000 people each year taking their own lives across communities in the UK, the impact on families, friends and wider communities is unfathomable because its a fact that for each and every suicide that occurs, at least 16 other people are directly effected by the loss. Because of the nature of suicide and the difficulty for those bereaved by suicide to  cope, organisations such asCruse Bereavement Birmingham provide an invaluable level of support both individually and at a group level.

It is because of their unrelenting hard work and dedication to supporting people bereaved by suicide that all monies raised from this ASIST course on the 10th and 11th September (the 10th being World Suicide Prevention Day) will be donated to Cruse Bereavement Birmingham.

This 2 Day course, in association with Forward For Life, is only being offered to a maximum of ten delegates and is only available to organisations and people across the West Midlands at a one off reduced price of £100 per delegate for the full licensed two day course being delivered by ASIST Master Trainers.

If you are interested in being part of this great opportunity to support an excellent local charity in continuing their great work in supporting people bereaved by loss then please get in touch with us by email or give us a call on 07585776800.


What we do to prevent suicide

What we do to prevent suicide in the United Kingdom


A brief insight into the work of Forward For Life and Common Unity Social Enterprise through the suicide prevention programme S-O-S – working hard to make a real impact on the challenge of suicide across the United Kingdom through specialist training in safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. 

Common Unity Social Enterprise
Is a Health and Social Care organisation specialising in working on mental health and well-being 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.

Forward For Life
communities who have the challenges are, more often than not, the very same communities that hold the solution 
Forward For Life operates with the core belief that although there are many challenges that exist across and within our communities, solutions to these challenges are also to be found across and within our communities. 
With an overall goal of supporting communities to be Suicide Safer, we adopt forward thinking approaches to reduce inequalities and promote opportunities for enhanced well-being and improved quality of life – We believe this is both an achievable expectation across all our communities and the right of each and every individual within.


Suicide Prevention in Sandwell



Suicide Prevention In Sandwell

"Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse. 




Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better."


Steps towards a suicide safer Sandwell

Sandwell Borough Council have commissioned Common Unity to help them achieve a suicide safer community. Over the next 3 years Common Unity and partner organisation, Forward for Life will be delivering the world renowned suicide prevention training programmes, ASIST and safeTALK across Sandwell.
Common Unity and partner trainers can’t wait to push the message
"that one suicide is one too many". 


The Pamper Zone by Common Unity

The Pamper Zone // Pampering Zone

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


CDW Journey – Testimonies

A handful of testimonies that talk about first hand experience of the CDW service and how it has benefited there communities and them selfs.

Working on our own skills, and those of the partners, individuals and communities we come into contact with. This is done directly by ourselves or through linking to training providers. It is about ensuring quality, and about fulfilling potential through the building of confidence and a sense of agency.

To learn more about the CDW Service: click here

The videos explain the partnership of Common Unity and Birmingham Mind for the development of the Community Development workers (CDWs) , How the CDWs work, the Assets and community relations, Targeting all audiences and all communities around Birmingham.

BBC – Your Voice! in Birmingham

Your Voice!  BBC FREE SPEECH IS COMING TO… Birmingham!

We are a youth debate show looking for over 100 people to join our live studio audience & share their views on BBC Three If you would like to be sent more details then get in touch We will be broadcasting live on BBC THREE on WEDNESDAY 12TH MARCH 2014 You will need to be available between 5:30 and 9:00pm BBC Free Speech is presented by Rick Edwards with social media jockey Tina Daheley.

BBC3’s Free Speech is back, and looking to meet young people who want their voices to be heard. This live political debate show, aims to give young people aged 16-34 a platform to voice their opinions to the people who can help make a difference. The first episode is on the 12th March in Birmingham Central Mosque and will be focusing on the issues that young people want to talk about.

If you’re aged 16-34 and are interested in being part of the interactive audience, you can fill in this short application form (Download Here)
You’ll need to be free from 5.30-9pm on the day. You can check out the show here:


Dudley MBC Embraces Suicide Prevention

Suicide is one of the biggest taboos in modern day society; a phenomenon that affects so many people in our communities in so many ways and yet has not been tackled by our communities. In Britain, each year, more than 6000 people kill themselves; that’s 4000 more deaths per year than occur on all our roads. Yet suicide remains a taboo subject that most people won’t entertain talking about it, never mind feeling able to support someone who they think might be considering taking their own life.

In 2011, the suicide rate in the U.K. drastically shot up, reaching a 7 year high.Dudley MBC have recognised this and have begun working closely with two West Midlands based specialist organisations in the field of suicide prevention to make Dudley Suicide Safer.

A key approach to suicide prevention is through the delivery of internationally respected and recognised training that looks to strengthen the knowledge base, the skill base and the resilience levels within and across our communities for all community members both in a professional context and general population context.

safeTALK and ASIST are two internationally licensed and endorsed training programmes that engage communities with the myriad of challenges that suicide brings and enables communities to play a vital interventionist role in preventing suicidal behaviour. The Office of Public Health, Dudley MBC are bringing this training to Dudley in 2014.

To date Common Unity and Forward For Life have led the implementation of delivering both safeTALK and ASIST as part of a combined approach to enabling communities to be Suicide Safer.

This training has engaged recipients from a range of backgrounds including Mental Health specialist services, teachers, lecturers, the housing sector, bereavement services, suicide support groups, counsellors, carers, GP’s, front line primary care workers, the emergency services, specialist third sector organisations who work with vulnerable communities (e.g. Homeless, Substance Misuse), Service User Forums, health sector commissioners, the private healthcare sector and social workers.

However, Forward For Life and Common Unity are not just about training. They see a need to address suicide through a number of approaches under the banner of the SOS Programme being currently pushed out across the West Midlands.

This programme looks to ensure that strategically suicide prevention is addressed at a local level; that the stigma and taboo surrounding suicide is directly challenged through campaigns and specialist training across communities and the health and social care sector and that organisations and commissioning bodies are recognised for their engagement with the suicide prevention agenda. Dudley MBC are fully signed up to the SOS Programme recognising the need to challenge the issue of suicide through more than just training.

If you want more information about the SOS programme please visit If you interested to know more about Forward For Life and Common Unity and the work they are doing then don’t hesitate to get in touch with either of the partners.

Suicide Safer Community

Download issue No. 02 Public Mental Health e-Bulletin below

download PDF

One Suicide Too Many

One suicide is one too many, Caron Thompson and Terry Rigby Podcast one


One suicide is one too many and with suicide rates being on the increase across communities there is a need for innovative and assertive action. Caron Thompson of Common Unity Social Enterprise and Terry Rigby of Forward For Life provide one solution to supporting communities to become Suicide Safer.


“Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse. 
Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.”