National Suicide Prevention Alliance conference 2020: Suicide Prevention: from community to clinician

A personal view from Jackie Scruton

Why did I go?

I became involved with Jonathan’s Voice charity about 9 months ago, although I had known of their existence since their inception. However, work commitments meant it was only recently I had time to give to the charity. I wanted to learn more about reducing the stigma of mental ill-health and attendance at the conference I hoped, would enable me think how to do this. For as long as I can remember I have been interested in people and what makes individuals tick. This led me in my late teens to train as a Samaritan. Looking back, I wonder how, knowing what I do now with my life experiences, I had the confidence to apply, the joys of youth! My five years as a volunteer taught me one significant lesson: the importance of really listening and empowering individuals to speak up.

Throughout my working life I have like most of us have had times when I have felt the pressure of work impact on my emotional well-being. On a personal level I know the importance of keeping fit and undertaking physical exercise, be it swimming, cycling or running (I have enjoyed participating in sprint triathlons)

It was important for me to really start to further my knowledge on all matters concerned with mental well-being and how to help reduce the stigma of mental ill -health.

  • What did I learn from the day?
  • Sadly, after three years of the suicide rate dropping the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)(2018) show rates have risen, particularly for men and young people under the age of  25.
  • Worryingly the ONS identify there has been a 12% rise in suicide rates in one year. The single biggest rise since 2014.
  • The ONS also indicates a rise in self harm in middle aged men and this may link to the rise in the male suicide rate. It is apparent that this also links to economic background and the use of alcohol.
  • People leaving hospital are at high risk of suicide in the first week and day three is the biggest risk ‘day’
  • The importance of working with survivors. The need to ensure we ask ‘What is going on for you?’ ‘What is different now?’ We must encourage and listen to survivors, to help inform policy and practice. It is important to use suicide as a lived experience.
  • Government departments all have a work plan – aimed at embedding good mental health practice across their departments, such ‘”small talk saves lives” (Dept. of Transport/ Samaritans) https://www.samaritans.org/support-us/campaign/small-talk-saves-lives/
  • ONS  or the University mental health charter and green paper on mental health for children and young people (Dept for Education)
  • A fantastic idea; ‘happy to share my table’  read about it here https://happytoshare.co.uk/

And Finally,….

Thank you to all at the NSPA https://www.nspa.org.uk/home/news-events/nspa-conference-2020/ for arranging the day. I left feeling I have a much stronger understanding of the issues regarding suicide, but above all I met some inspiring people. Long may they continue to support the understanding and preventing death by suicide.  

ONS  https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2018registrations

University Mental Health Charter


Green Paper https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/664855/Transforming_children_and_young_people_s_mental_health_provision.pdf

The Inaugural Jonathan’s Voice Lunch

As a friend of Jonathan’s Voice – we invite you to talk openly and speak out about mental health and mental wellbeing amongst your family, friends and colleagues.  As part of creating a more open environment and culture in the workplace, which removes “mental health as the last  taboo” (Jonathan’s own words) we hope that others who may be facing mental health challenges find the courage to get support.

On a freezing last Saturday of October 2018 in Oxford, we were pleased to host our inaugural lunch for friends and supporters, in the splendid setting of the Old Dining Hall, St Edmund Hall. We are most grateful to St Edmund Hall for their generosity in providing such a superb meal and with such attentive staff, which was welcomed by all. The occasion was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to mix and get to know each other, and as we move forward with our Charitable activities will create a strong network.

We presented an update on the progress and activities that have taken place over the past ten months, and highlighted some specific events we have been involved in to raise awareness of the importance of staying mentally healthy.

It was also the opportunity, first hand,  to recognise and acknowledge some amazing fund-raising efforts  and inspiration for others (not all have to be feats requiring supreme physical fitness!).

Very importantly, we were so pleased that we could report to everyone, that we are now a Registered Charity and a member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA). Many resources, such as leaflets, booklets, and our own (new) beautifully designed and printed Christmas Cards and posters were available to take away and well received by our supporters.  We are especially grateful to the Card Factory Foundation who have produced these at no cost for us. If you would like to receive cards or posters, please get in touch with us by email.

Plans for the coming months, include a continuation of our work with Nottingham Forest Community Trust, with IP Inclusive and with the Card Factory.  The lunch however, also generated excellent discussion and idea generation amongst everyone, of future activities for reaching out to other sponsors and communities. We trust we will be able to grow and widen our scope of support for our very deeply felt, and unquestionably important message of our new Charity’s purpose.

We hope to run another event for friends and supporters in the late spring and will be emailing out details in due course. If you would like to sign up to receive our newsletter and information about our work, please send an email to the above address and we will put you on our mailing list.

Graham and Val

Update on NSPA Conference

I just thought I would take a few minutes to write further about the National Suicide Prevention Alliance conference I was at last month. It was great to hear about the Bank of England’s Mental Health Network and how across the organization they have developed and put into action a mental wellbeing programme – there’s so much to be learnt from programs like this.

And across the day workshops offered an opportunity to meet with others, talk through the issues and make connections on particularly relevant topics – men, suicide and the workplace.

Finally, if you have chance take a look at Roses in the Ocean (http://rosesintheocean.com.au) – its founder – Bronwen Edwards – gave a really inspirational session on how something positive can come from desperately sad suicide.

We’ve a lot to do here at Jonathan’s Voice – but we’re looking forward to working together with organizations like the NSPA to tackle this big issue.

NSPA Conference 2018

Graham, on behalf of Jonathan’s Voice, attended the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (www.nspa.org.uk) conference 2018 at the Kia Oval  on 31st January. There were over 250 delegates from businesses, large and small charities and statutory bodies. Jeremy Hunt spoke about government action on suicide prevention and it was a good opportunity to meet and to hear about the work in which other organisations are engaged. We are now in the process of putting in an application to become an affiliated member of NSPA.