Black Lives Matter

SCHEMA – An Approach to Suicide Prevention

SCHEMA is a suicide prevention course that supports professionals and community members in effectively helping people with suicidal thoughts.

Suicide doesn’t discriminate

Death by suicide is devastating and far reaching across our communities. It takes 3 times more lives per year in the UK than lives lost in accidents on all our roads. The most recent data tells us that over 6000 people died in the UK by suicide in one year. That means that every day, 16 people take their own lives in the UK.

But we can have an impact on this devastating act through learning skills to support a person with suicidal thoughts to consider life as an achievable plan. This course has been being designed and developed by experienced facilitators and practitioners in the fields of suicide prevention, mental health and well-being.

Who is SCHEMA for?

The SCHEMA suicide prevention course is suitable for all walks of life and this is because suicidal behaviour occurs across all our communities and is everybody’s responsibility. Whatever your background, by attending SCHEMA you will feel better prepared to support someone who has suicidal thoughts.

What would I learn?

• Spot the signals of possible suicide ideation
• Ask the right questions
• Explore with empathy
• Assess level of risk and develop a life-plan
• Enable short-term support
• Consider appropriate signposting

Learn the skills that can save lives and promote hope for the future

If you wish to discuss SCHEMA with one of our facilitators to help you decide, if this training is right for you/your organisation, then all you have to do is get in touch with us on 07585776800 or email: [email protected]

SCHEMA : An approach to suicide prevention delegates 2018
Our SCHEMA briefing paper Since 2018 we have delivered SCHEMA to over 400 delegates across the UK including delivering SCHEMA training on behalf of Birmingham and Solihull NHS CCG and the Coventry and Warwickshire NHS. For an overview of this training check out our most recent briefing paper.

What our delegates say about SCHEMA

“This was a really useful course, both for professionals and people who know someone with a mental health issue. Infact, it’s useful for anyone who knows anyone who might need support”

“Will definitely recommend to others, friends and professionals. It helped me to think about suicide in a structured way to help with immediate and long-term support.”

“It was a great day and I feel much more confident now when talking to people both as a professional and a friend.”

“Great days training. Reinforced my own practice and learnt new ways of working. Trainers very knowledgeable.”

Fantastic course; Very knowledgeable facilitators who used simple and precise methods to make course content very clear. Thank-you.”

Introducing LITA our two hour interactive online workshop

LITA (Life is the AIM) Suicide prevention gatekeeper training was developed by Forward For Life and Common Unity with the recognition that in today’s uncertain times there is an ever pressing need to provide people from all walks of life with gatekeeper skills training in suicide prevention through an online platform.

What you will learn:

LITA is a 2 hour online gatekeeper training short course that supports recipients to:

• Understand the impact of suicide
• Have knowledge of how to identify those at risk
• Understand the value of listening
• Direct those at risk to appropriate support opportunities.

Who is it for:

LITA is being offered out to organisations and communities across the UK to provide people with a knowledge base of how to start to support people who may be thinking of suicide with the aim of maintaining life as an outcome. LITA is also useful for those organisations who already have employees who have attended our SCHEMA or ASIST courses by providing organisations with the opportunity for enhanced internal support.

For further information about LITA or any of our face to face training options Please contact :

Terry Rigby 07585776800 or email : [email protected]

You can download a copy of the flyer in PDF format by clicking here

West Midlands Fire Service endorses TWR in keeping people Safe and Well 

I know will-power plays a big part but the support we provided via The Waiting Room Resource Key has been priceless for him. Aston Fire Station recently shared TWR keys amongst their team leaders for further distribution across their patches.

One Team Leader told us

 “I issued 27 keys in total to managers of the HMO’s owned by Midland Living – their feedback was excellent. The HMO’s are occupied by people who have serious support needs for various substance misuses and use of violence.   The managers have stated that the keys have been invaluable for signposting and they will continue to use them.

I have visited the HMO’s myself and chatted with some tenants about the Resource Keys – they tell me that a lot of the time it’s knowing where to get help, which the key has been invaluable for. I have seen the effects of the key first-hand with a tenant who is now two months clean after using the key to access a range of support.  

He is now doing voluntary work at the HMO to keep his mind occupied and maintain his well-being. I know willpower plays a big part but the support we provided via The Waiting Room Resource Key has been priceless for him.   I truly believe that these keys have helped with the rehabilitation of some of our most vulnerable and will certainly continue using them.”

Click on the picture to watch our most recent TWR Video.

For more information about The Waiting Room in Birmingham, or if you are interested in bringing it to your location then please get in touch with us as Common-Unity.

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.

“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.

Men and Suicide there’s 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


BBC Dan Kelly Talks about suicide in the West Midlands

BBC West Midlands 95.6 presenter Dan Kelly talks about suicide within your communities and ways of preventing them with the help of Common Unity and Forward For Life. Master Trainers Caron Thompson and Terry Rigby, talk about training members of the public as well as professionals to look for signs within their communities and help tackle suicide at the source, by spotting the signs early and implementing prevention measures. Offering help and advice while sign posting that individual to an organisation that could offer them more support is crucial to preventing suicide.


Media attention to suicide prevention came on the back of the story of Jamie Harrington, a Young Ambassador for Dublin becoming the next European Capital of Culture in 2020, who helped a man find reasons for living on a bridge in his home town. This story went viral with Jamie being repaid in a very special way. The man who had kept in contact with Jamie since their encounter on the bridge told him the news that his girlfriend was having a child, and they were going to name the child after him.


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.

BBC WM 95.6 Topic of Suicide

Common Unity & Forward For Life speak live on BBC WM 95.6 on the topic of suicide and suicide prevention. Common Unity, Forward For Life and Time to Change were invited to speak at BBC WM 9.5 / BBC West Midlands Radio 95.6 on ChatBack on the subject of suicide and more importantly, suicide prevention.

Youtube video below, to listen to the full BBC radio show.

Suicide Crisis Receives Accolade

Suicide Crisis Receives Accolade for its Life Saving service

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 ( 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.

Dudley MBC Embraces Suicide Prevention

Suicide Safer Community

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.

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

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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.”


The SOS Award

Trident Reach receives SOS Award

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.

Clarke Carlisle meets Common Unity

Common Unity in association with Forward For Life Launched the SOS Suicide Prevention Campaign in Birmingham on the 1th September 2013 as part of Suicide Prevention Week. Caron Thompson Company Director for Common Unity invited Clarke Carlisle 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.

The S.O.S event was 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 (

The Presentation

Forward For Life and Common Unity gave a in depth structured approach on how to tackle this issue one step at a time.
The Presentation consisted of:

•   The S-O-S and what it is.
•   The Background and the history.

•   Aims of the Campaign
•   Campaign Event
•   Use of materials
•   Stats
•   Myths and Facts

Why Get Involved?
•   These approaches are Why work with us?
•   Why Common Unity and Forward For Life

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.

Suicide rate masked by coroners’ verdicts

The true number of people who take their own lives is being masked by coroners, academics have warned.

Many more inquests are ending in “narrative verdicts” rather than a ruling that someone killed themselves, often because of caution over their intention. But it is feared that this may mean up to 6 per cent of suicides being wrongly classified as accidents, which could be “masking the effects of the economic crisis on suicide”. In an editorial published in the British Medical Journal, Prof David Gunnell at the University of Bristol and colleagues said:

“This increased use of narrative verdicts has important effects on the estimation of national suicide rates because these verdicts present coding difficulties for the Office for National Statistics – when suicide intent is unclear such deaths are coded as accidents.”

Official figures show there were 4,648 suicides in England and Wales in 2009, based on the verdicts given by coroners after inquests into unexpected deaths. But many hangings, overdoses and poisonings are being treated as possible accidents, with coroners ending inquests in narrative verdicts that give an account of how the death occurred in a few sentences. The number of narrative verdicts has risen from just 111 in 2001 to 3,012 – more than one in 10 inquests – in 2009. This is despite the fact that suicide is sometimes strongly implied in the verdict, with phrases used such as

“deceased took his own life with an accidental overdose”,

according to the BMJ study. If all deaths from hanging and poisoning were classed as suicides rather than given narrative verdicts, the suicide rate would be 6 per cent higher. This would account for almost a third of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy’s target of reducing suicides by 20 per cent. But even this figure could be an underestimate because the ONS did not include all common methods of killing oneself. The academics warn: “As the use of narrative verdicts rises, so too may the underestimation of suicide. “The consequences of this could be incorrect rate estimates, misleading evaluations of national and local prevention activity, and masking of the effects of the current economic crisis on suicide.

“Furthermore, because coroners vary greatly in their use of narrative verdicts, suicide rates may (falsely) seem to decline in areas served by coroners who make most use of such verdicts.”

But Prof Louis Appleby, chairman of the Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, insisted:

“There is nothing new in finding that some probable suicides are omitted from official statistics because of doubts about the person’s intent.“

Coroners used to record verdicts of accident or misadventure in many such cases, now they may record a narrative verdict.

“There is no reason to doubt the fall in suicide in England in the last decade, though of course we should continue to examine how narrative verdicts are used.”

Article By : Terry Rigby – Forward For Life

Suicide numbers rise sharply, especially among middle-aged men

Male suicides at highest level for a decade while rate for men aged 45-59 is at worst level since 1986

A phone link to the Samaritans at the bottom of cliffs at a notorious suicide spot near Bridgend, in south Wales. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA Significant rises in the overall UK suicide rate and in the proportion of men aged between 45 and 59 killing themselves have been reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Male suicides are now at their highest rate for nearly a decade, although they are still proportionally fewer than they were 30 years ago. The rate among men aged 45-59, which has gone up sharply in recent years, is at its worst since 1986.

In Wales, the overall suicide rate for men and women rose by 30% between 2009 and 2011. The Department of Health in England last year identified middle-aged men as being at high risk of killing themselves, in its suicide prevention strategy, while a report for the Samaritans suggested men from low socioeconomic backgrounds living in deprived areas were 10 times more likely to die by suicide than were men from high socioeconomic backgrounds living in the most affluent areas.

Norman Lamb, the care services minister, said the figures caused very real concern, and they needed to be tackled “head on”. In all, 6,045 suicides were recorded among people aged 15 and over in 2011, the ONS said. That is up 437, or 8%, on the previous year, the rise being the same in percentage terms for men and women. The UK suicide rate is now 11.8 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 11.1 in 2010, and the highest since 2004.

The number of male suicides increased to 4,552, which at a rate of 18.2 per 100,000 was the highest level since 2002. The worst suicide rate remains among men aged 30 to 44, at 23.5 per 100,000; for 45 to 59-year-old men, the figure now stands at 22.2 per 100,000.

Female suicides rose to 1,493, a rate of 5.6 per 100,000. Although suicide among 15- to 29-year-old females is rare, the rate in this age group has also risen significantly, from 2.9 per 100,000 in 2007 to 4.2 per 100,000 in the latest statistics. Big gender differences have been recorded for a generation.

The ONS accepts that some of the increases could be down to changes in statistical recording. Coroners in England and Wales are now giving more “narrative” verdicts, where causes of death are difficult to identify. The ONS advised them to describe the circumstances of deaths in a way that could make clearer the intentions of those who died: for example, whether there was deliberate self-harm rather than an accident.

In England, the overall suicide rate is 10.4 deaths per 100,000, with the rate highest in the north-east, at 12.9, and lowest in London, at 8.9. In Wales, the suicide rate has leaped up sharply, from 10.7 in 2009 to 13.9 in 2011.

Changes in death registration rules and the way in which deaths are recorded in Scotland appear to have had a more dramatic effect on figures there, making statisticians cautious about comparing previous figures. In 2011, there were 889 suicides under the new rules and 772 under the old ones. But the General Register Office for Scotland says the “moving average” over recent years has consistently been “around 800 or so”. In Northern Ireland, there were 289 suicides in 2011, 216 men and 73 women. That figure is down from the 313 (240 men, 73 women) the previous year.

Article copied from:


UK suicide rate rises ‘significantly’ in 2011

Some 6,045 people killed themselves in 2011, an increase of 437 since 2010.

Image from BBC News

The highest suicide rate was among men aged between 30 and 44. About 23 men per 100,000 took their own lives. On average, across both sexes, 11.8 people per 100,000 population killed themselves in 2011, up from 11.1 people the previous year.

The ONS data revealed there were 4,552 suicides by men in 2011, more than three times the number by women and the highest rate since 2002. The suicide rate among middle-aged men aged 45 to 59 was also high, increasing from 21.7 deaths in 2006 to 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2011.

Continue reading “UK suicide rate rises ‘significantly’ in 2011”