Suicide Prevention Conference

Pictured above are Keynote Speakers Professor Rory O’Connor, University of Glasgow, Dr Olivia Kirtley, University of Ghent, Belgium.

On Monday 27th February around 200 delegates from Cumbria and Northumbria attended the Suicide Prevention conference at Rheged near Penrith. The event was organised in partnership with The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) and Cumbria Partnership. The AHSN is dedicated to improving healthcare and supporting wealth creation through partnership working and promotion of innovation across the NHS, Academia and Industry. The conference gave an update on the latest models and evidence in the field of suicide prevention aiming to support the development of best practice around suicide prevention across a range of settings and patient groups.

Jackie Rigby, Suicide Prevention Lead for the Trust said “Cumbria has a higher than the national average rate of suicides per year. CPFT has now committed resources and structure to help prevent deaths prematurely through suicide. It was good to see so many people attending the suicide prevention conference –a reflection of the strong interest in the research in this area which is a priority for the Trust”.

Keynote Speakers included Dr Olivia Kirtley, University of Ghent, Belgium, Professor Rory O’Connor, University of Glasgow, Professor Ellen Townsend, University of Nottingham, Alys Cole-King, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Delegates were given the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers.

Key messages from the speakers included;

  • More than 804,000 people around the world die by suicide each year (WHO, 2014) - Enough to fill Wembley Stadium almost nime times.
  • It is estimated that 115 people affected by each suicide death
  • Compassionate communication can save lives.
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts need to be taken seriously and met with empathy and understanding on every occasion.

Sarah Allen form First Step team said  ”As a frontline practitioner I sometimes feel remote from the evidence that underlies the way I work. It was really good to reconnect to the theory and to feel close to the research that informs the work we do. It was also great to remember the importance of compassion as a key intervention”.

The presentations included information on;

  • The psychology of suicidal behaviour
  • The  Volitional Help Sheet to Reduce Suicidal Behaviour
  • The role insecure maternal attachment and poor peer attachment plays in repeated self harm
  • The Dear Distressed project
  • The use of the Card Sort Task for Self-Harm (CaTS)  in clinical practice with young people to start difficult conversations and assess/map changes over time

It was a busy day on social media as tweets were posted throughout the day by an engaged audience. The story was featured on local ITV Border. For more information join the conversation on #suicidepreventionnenc. Full details from the event will be available here Suicide prevention conference in the future.

Please contact CPFT Suicide Prevention Project Lead Jackie.Rigby@cumbria.nhs.uk, or 07824837962 if you need any support in taking forward any of the learning from the conference in your area.

Delegates engaging with speakers at the Suicide Prevention Conference