SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR A NEW ERA

Suffolk User Forum (SUF) is celebrating national Co-production week, in partnership with Suffolk Public Health, to refresh the county’s Suicide Prevention Strategy at this crucial time.

Around 60 people in Suffolk die by suicide each year. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families and communities and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.

‘Change The Language, Save A Life’ will be the partnership approach taking a look at how language is used around the issue of suicide prevention. It will pay particular attention to how many more individuals may have become vulnerable to suicidal thoughts since the Covid-19 lockdown was implemented in the UK.

Throughout the pandemic, Suffolk User Forum has provided support to over 1,500 people. This work has included delivery to people who are shielded, and those who have been struggling with suicidal thoughts.

CEO, Jayne Stevens, said:

“We know that as people are starting to emerge from lockdown, there are individuals who are hugely anxious, financially troubled, exhausted, lonely – or seeing a steady increase in mental health issues they have previously struggled with for some time.

“Now more than ever we need to listen to people and involve them as experts in suicide prevention. We’re very pleased to be able to continue working with Public Health Suffolk, to make that happen in a way which will make a huge difference – and ultimately save lives.”

Co-production is a process where organisations and people with lived experience work as equal partners to design services and monitor impact.

This year’s Co-Production Week – starting Monday 6th July – is specifically focusing on Co-Production in a Changing World and is recognising how organisations and people who use services, are coming together to make real changes to improve lives in the community.

Councillor Tony Goldson, Chairman of Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Suffolk User Forum to co-produce our approach to prevent suicide in Suffolk.

“As we turn our attention to the next stages beyond lockdown, we will be working with our public, health and voluntary sector partners to support people’s mental health and use the information we have to help those at greatest risk.”

He added: “Working with Suffolk User Forum continues to be important as we want to involve those with lived experience in everything we do.

“This has already seen positive outcomes with the introduction of the Stay Alive app in Suffolk, and work to inform our approach to supporting middle aged men and those in the farming community.

“I look forward to continuing this positive work with Suffolk User Forum and other groups in Suffolk.”

Suffolk User Forum has a proven track record in making a difference in the context of suicide prevention. In recent years, the organisation has been jointly responsible for the development of the Stay Alive app, and for such projects as a suicide awareness event for those in the farming community.

If you are interested in the suicide prevention project, contact Suffolk User Forum by emailing: hello@suffolkuserforum.co.uk.

For help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 113 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week.  You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.

If you have been bereaved by suicide contact AMPARO (Suffolk) on 0330 088 9255.

To find out more about Co-production week go to www.scie.org.uk/co-production/week

Or watch our short videos on Co-production for mental health and suicide prevention www.suffolkuserforum.co.uk/co-production-projects/