Suicide is everyone’s business – just listening can make a difference | News and events

Suicide is everyone’s business – just listening can make a difference

Sue Willgoss, NSFT's new suicide prevention officer has spoken passionately about how she hopes to raise awareness that suicide is everybody’s business ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Sue was appointed to the brand-new role earlier this summer. She is already a familiar face around the Trust as she has spent the past 12 months as a suicide prevention advisor, delivering webinars to health and care staff to raise awareness of how to treat people who are suicidal after losing her son Danny in 2018.

We can all learn the skills and confidence needed to help save lives. Visit the Zero Suicide Awareness website to access free suicide awareness and prevention training.

You can also download the Stay Alive app - a pocket suicide prevention resource, packed full of useful information. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.

In her new role, Sue will be responsible for helping teams to understand how to support bereaved families in their time of need while ensuring that they also have access to appropriate help.

She will also use her lived experience to challenge and educate services about the needs of people who are suicidal while also helping the Trust to learn lessons from the experiences of bereaved families. In addition, Sue will support Suicide Prevention Lead Liz Howlett to develop a Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Strategy.

“I feel really proud to have been appointed and proud of NSFT for trusting me to do something so important,” said Sue, who is also a Lived Experience Influencer for the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. “I can’t change what happened to Danny, but hope to change the future for other people.

“I feel strongly that suicide is everyone’s business. Mental health services should be there when people need them, but there is also so much that the community can do too. Just listening to someone who is approaching a crisis can make all the difference as it helps them to feel that they have been heard.

“Its vitally important to work across organisational boundaries so that we can reach people early on and before they get to crisis point. It is also crucial to listen to people who care for those who are going through a mental health crisis so that we can also make sure they get the help they need.

“I’ll be liaising with lots of different groups to raise awareness of the things we can all do to help people in crisis, and will also be working alongside our service users and carers to co-produce a  Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Strategy.

“The work we are doing at NSFT has already been noticed nationally, as other trusts are beginning to ask about my role with a view to introducing something similar.

“I am proud of the start that we have made but know there is more to do. An important part of that will be continuing to listen to families, as they all have different perspectives and experiences which are so valuable, and which can make a real difference to others in the future.”

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