Early in 2020 we were excited to be told that we had been shortlisted for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Award “Excellence in The Third Sector.” This nomination was alongside 7 other local organisations who provide essential community support across our region. The other nominees were:
Black Country Living Museum
Breast Cancer Haven, West Midlands
Family Society Adoption Focus
Millennium Point Charitable Trust
Suited for Success
University Hospitals Birmingham Charity
Common Unity were shortlisted with recognition of over a decade of hard work in supporting communities to engage with their own health and wellbeing.
Particular programmes of work were highlighted including our Suicide Prevention work with the development of the SCHEMA Suicide Prevention Training Programme, our Male Peer Support Programme known as ManMade and our hugely successful online directory of health and wellbeing services known as The Waiting Room.
The Awards Night
With the pandemic hitting hard in April, the event was moved online for broadcast in July. The event witnessed over 1,500 viewerswith the event trending 3rd in the whole of the UK on social media during broadcast due to the diligent work of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to make best of a challenging situation.
On the night we didn’t win the award but are still hugely thankful for the experience and very humbled to have been nominated for the Chamber Award in this area.
It’s a clever way of linking people with local support with the least amount of stress, hassle or disappointment
Back in the 80’s there was a song called “Road To Nowhere” – pretty good as well – but when I think of online resource directories, or worse still, paper directories for health and social care services, they are often just like this song. They are, too often, a Road To Nowhere. The telephone numbers are often wrong or discontinued; the organisation you are searching for has either moved, closed or changed the services they provide; the website links don’t work or the pages you are looking for don’t exist anymore – so we designed The Waiting Room in Birmingham (known as TWR) and the TWR Resource Key.
It’s a clever way of linking people with local support with the least amount of stress, hassle or disappointment – access to information is instant, information is current and making contact is do-able for both professionals and the public. In December of last year we started testing the TWR Resource Key with 25 GP Surgeries to see how it went down with their staff and their patients. The results are astounding and demand for TWR both in Birmingham and wider is growing fast with both Professionals and the public realising that access to local services can be up-to-date and are quite literally at their finger-tips.
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 notan 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