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The Zero Suicide Collaborative

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Learning Session 2. 29th-30th April. Filton, Bristol

Our second learning event not only highlighted the fantastic work that has already been achieved in such a short time, but also gave us ideas and inspiration to bring improvement to our own areas.

Huge thanks to everyone who attended and who gave of their energy, time and commitment! See information and presentations below.

David Gunnell - Evidence that suicide prevention is possible

David gave us a incredibly helpful overview of the risk factors, opportunities for intervention, and evidence that suicide is indeed, preventable. He went on to discuss the range of interventions and service components that have been shown to be helpful, including the vital importance of thoughtful media coverage, and reminded us of the crucial issue of support for people bereaved by suicide.
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Mary Ryan

Mary reminded us of our shared humanity – telling us her story of how one person can, with quiet persistence, encourage people to make small changes which can have a hugely positive effects.
We can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the many things still to be done – but Mary helped us to remember the potential in all our actions, and the crucial importance of holding on to what we know to be right.
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Faye Dimdore - Samaritans

Faye gave us a vital overview of the values, ethos, structure and range of the work done by the Samaritans, reminding us of how they work both locally and nationally. Their commitment to a confidential, non-judgemental approach, offering human contact and enabling people to make their own decisions, has been crucial to their success. As well as work with schools, and local services, Samaritans have recently begun to offer a ‘call back’ service, which Faye encouraged us all to make use of in our areas.
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Rebecca Osbourne

Rebecca told us about similar suicide reduction programmes taking place in other parts of the UK, and outlined the similarity and differences between the projects, as well as helping us to get ideas from initiatives taking place elsewhere. This has included the ‘Stop Suicide’ pledge, the ‘spot the signs, save a life’ campaign, as well as training for GPs, Primary Care, and other community groups.
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Ian Stevens -Network Rail

Ian described the joint working between Network Rail and the Samaritans in devising a practical and effective programme to help their staff to reduce the number of deaths on the railway. Their determination to try new ideas, and to give people the confidence to approach anyone who appears to be distressed, gave us confidence that it is indeed possible to tackle these apparently insurmountable problems. There were many positive comments about the short video Ian showed to us, demonstrating that everyone can make a difference.
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Rob Gough

Rob reminded us of the story of Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, who in 1935 set up a group to help alcoholics to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety, little knowing that 80yrs later, they would be celebrated for having started a world wide network which has no doubt helped thousands of people and saved unknown numbers of lives. Once again we were helped to remember how each one of us can do something to help – and that we may not know now the effect of our work in the future.
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Peter Aitken, Roger Jackson - Orcombe Point Project

Roger told us an inspirational story of determination, commitment and practical solutions, showing how a few people with a will to make a change, can get things done, and can save lives. Working together with people from different organisations and groups, their combined energies and perseverance has resulted in a number of practical changes which have so far this year meant that NO ONE has taken their life at Orcombe Point.

We were left feeling humbled by what had been achieved, and with a strengthened determination that we too could make a difference.
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Ellen Wilkinson - Stigma and suicide

Ellen helped us to remember the challenges of stigma, and how even today people often feel unable to discuss suicidal thoughts. This can have the effect of creating further discrimination against those perhaps already marginalised. She encouraged us all to think of ways in which we too can begin to break down the stigma surrounding suicide, and also reminded us of the extremely useful Media Guidance published by the Samaritans, which is beginning to impact on the way in which the subject is covered and viewed.
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Salena Williams

Salena talked to us about her work with the STITCH project to improve care for those who self-harm. She described her work with people with lived experience in the co-production of training for staff working in Primary Care, helping to promote understanding and reduce risks. She described the ongoing work with GPs in a range of projects, all of them contributing to the overall aim to reduce the risk of harm, and of suicide.
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