As creator of comms2point0 I have been inspired by others in the community to do more to support health and wellbeing these past two years. But there is still much we all need to do. So please make sure you read this important blog post and thanks to Jude for sharing it. Darren
by Jude Tipper
Not having a sister suited me as a child as I could happily claim my friend Kathy in that role. Growing up, we were inseparable; a couple of kids inexplicably drawn together. Perhaps by a love of imaginary horses (don’t ask) or perhaps by childhoods that weren’t quite the norm.
No matter where life took us, we kept in touch over the years. No longer inseparable but still the unspoken bond of self-proclaimed sisterhood.
In our mid thirties, she told me stories of her medical training and lingered on how, as a trainee GP, so much of her time was given to people who were struggling with their mental health. Kathy’s gentle, kind nature coupled with the sort of wisdom only gained through tough living, made her a strong advocate for mental health. I have no doubt she helped so many.
She knew how to start that conversation.
When Zero Suicide training first appeared on my radar, I didn’t. I didn’t know how to start that conversation, to spot the signs. How do you bring up suicide with someone you’re worried about? Had I been in the position to, how would I have had this conversation with Kathy – the loss of whom broke my heart?
In just 20 minutes I learnt this was not as impossible as it sounds. The structure of the training swiftly takes you through how to approach the most difficult of topics with both sensitivity and skill. It shows you how to identify someone who may have suicidal thoughts, how to talk about it and how to signpost support.
In just 20 minutes you could learn how to save a life.
I’ve recently become vice chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) health group. The group has a specific workstream on mental health and wellbeing and we asked the CIPR to add the zero suicide training to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) database.
I’m delighted that the CIPR recognise this is not just personal; it’s vital professional development. They responded quickly to the request to add the training and award CPD points. It can now be found in the CIPR CPD database and gain 5 CPD points for taking the training.
The statistics for suicide are startling. Rates in the UK have increased to their highest level since 2002. Suicide does not discriminate; suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone.
I thought I didn’t know anyone else who had been affected by suicide yet this number seems to, sadly, keep growing. Amongst my friends and amongst my colleagues.
Do you know how to spot the signs? Do you know how to start a conversation? Take 20 minutes, take the training. Suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable. And we all have a role to play.
You can find the training online at www.zerosuicidealliance.com
Pic via Jude