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 www.s-o-s.org.uk. 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