Local mental health charity – Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind – have been announced as winners of the Best Targeted Mental Health Initiative award at the national ‘This Can Happen’ Awards for their suicide prevention training scheme aimed at GPs.
The award was presented on Wednesday 7th October via a virtual ceremony and recognises CPSL Mind’s achievements in providing the ‘Connecting with People’ suicide mitigation training – delivered by 4Mental Health – to more than 200 GPs and 250 Primary Care staff across the region over the past eighteen months.
Suicidal thoughts occur in one in five people and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 49 and women under 35 years old. As many as 70% of those who die by suicide are not seen by specialist mental health services in the year before their death, but they do often visit their GP.
Kate Beed, Head of Training and Consultancy at CPSL Mind, says, “We recognised the importance of equipping GPs with the knowledge and tools to help people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Our system-wide approach has facilitated a consistent, compassionate, person-centred ethos, alongside 4Mental Health’s SAFETool assessment framework, which supports GPs in identifying and evaluating a person’s experiences, history and risk factors in order to keep that person safe.”
‘This Can Happen’ award judges found that the training has been transformational, not only for patients, but also for professionals. GPs reported relief in having a toolkit to understand patients’ suicidal thoughts; pride in the knowledge that managing suicidal patients is no longer the preserve of specialists; and clarity on which patients need an immediate specialist approach.
One judge commented that “It was great to see some fantastic results, particularly regarding GP professionals’ improved knowledge and confidence through this training.”
Dr Melanie D’Souza, a GP herself, explains, “The training has given me a toolkit to understand more fully a patient’s suicidal thoughts. I am clearer about which patients need an immediate specialist response. This helps me make more appropriate referrals.
Most importantly, I can do something for a patient there and then – through a compassionate response and by assisting them to use strategies and practices to cope with their unbearable emotional pain, in the form of an immediate safety plan”.
This suicide mitigation training is part of a wider strategy at CPSL Mind to create suicide-safer communities alongside the award-winning STOP Suicide campaign which encourages direct conversations about suicide.
The award winning training is still available for all Primary Care practices in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for free – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can find out more at stopsuicidepledge.org about how we can all play our part in preventing suicide, including how to support someone you’re concerned about and how to manage suicidal thoughts yourself.
For more information and to access advice including 24-hour support via the NHS First Response Service using 111 option 2, visit: stopsuicidepledge.org/help-now/