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Spotlight on our Safe from Suicide Team on World Suicide Prevention Day

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News on 10th September, 2020

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and we would like to mark this day by acknowledging the enormous impact suicide has on families and carers, as well as staff. We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce our Safe from Suicide Team and share some of the work they have been involved with.
About our Safe from Suicide Team
In May last year Samaritans and Exeter University published a review of all Local Suicide Prevention Plans across the UK. 
This report recommended that for secondary mental health services to make an impact and prevent suicide they were to embed the principles of the National Confidential Inquiry Safer (NCIS) Services tool kit – 10 ways to improve safety.
Since then we have formed our Safe from Suicide Team to take this forward and have provided access to Suicide Prevention training for staff. The Team has also trained 12 medical students in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) to work with peers in the Exeter University Student Health Centre.
The Team’s initial focus has been working with inpatient, urgent and unplanned care teams as well as our Risk Team. Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Safe from Suicide Team has been able to work alongside colleagues to share existing good practice and areas for learning. 
This work includes making sure that our policy, procedure and practice all align to keep people safe on our wards, when they are on leave and at the time of their discharge. The team is working hard with ward staff to prevent anyone taking their own lives whilst an inpatient on our wards.
Whilst it is rare for a person to take their own life, the impact is devastating for those around them. The impact is felt across generations. To help those affected we are fortunate in Devon to have one of the best recognised post-vention services in the UK in Pete’s Dragons.
Whilst the focus for the Safe from Suicide Team in the first year is on urgent and inpatient care, the team is also looking to work alongside colleagues in community teams to:
  • Continue to raise awareness of the availability of mandatory Suicide Prevention training, which demonstrates the small ways in which simple human interaction from staff, friends, carers or colleagues can have a dramatic impact in savings someone's life. 
  • Roll-out their Suicide Response and Safety Planning training for mental health professionals, from October. This follows successfully providing the training to our Training Team and to our crisis, home treatment and liaison psychiatry teams
  • Integrate our risk management processes and identify early learning and themes from incidents against the NCIS standards, support teams/services to develop improvement plans. 
The team is also hoping to develop Communities of Practice, bringing together like-minded groups of staff, frontline or support, carers and people who use services who wish to make a difference in the suicide prevention agenda within their area.

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