Conference shines a spotlight on the need for everyone to be aware of suicide prevention

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More than 250 people have got together, to work towards reducing the number of deaths by suicide in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to zero.

The second annual Suicide Prevention Conference was held at the Bet365 Stadium on October 11 by Together We’re Better, the partnership of NHS and local government organisations, alongside independent and voluntary sector groups, that is working together to transform local health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent.

Dr Buki Adeyemo, Medical Director at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, the host organisation for this year’s event, believes it is important that everyone is prepared to play a role in looking out for each other’s best interests and helping prevent suicide.

She said: “Only a quarter of people who die by suicide come into contact with mental health services, so it’s important it becomes all our business. It doesn’t matter where you are, who you are or what you do, we all have that responsibility to ensure people don’t suffer in silence.

“It’s OK to talk about mental health and we hope that sooner rather than later suicide is no longer among us.”

The day offered a unique opportunity to hear from a number of experts on topics such as Care of the Bereaved by Suicide and Young Peoples’ Mental Health.

Simon Whitehouse, Together We’re Better Director said: “We have a clear ambition to reduce and eventually eradicate suicides across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We will work with colleagues in the voluntary sector and the public sector to help achieve this.”

A joint bid by Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council earlier this year won £300,000 for 2019/2020 from a three-year national initiative targeting middle-aged men and people who self-harm.

The programme will have a range of initiatives, including a service to increase support for people attending hospital for deliberate self-harm who are at high risk of suicide, as well as training for staff working in primary care settings like GP surgeries and pharmacies.

Jonathan O’Brian, Together We’re Better Programme Director for Mental Health and Director of Operations at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust said: “This forms part of a much bigger programme for mental health services. We’re currently working on a five-year-plan and improvements will range from primary care services and improving access to community services, but also making improvements to acute services and specialist teams who provide care to those that need them.