Every life matters – that’s the message from the suicide prevention team this Mental Health Awareness Week… and every day.
Back in October, Suzanne Sleeth became the area’s first-ever suicide prevention coordinator based within Northumbria Police, with funding also coming from all six local authorities, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (CNTW), the NHS and a range of other partners.
Since then she has been busy championing mental health. From working with families who’ve lost their loved ones to suicide to working with community partners to ensure our region is safer for those in crisis.
Throughout the past seven months she has been successful in bringing together all local authorities, crisis teams and charities to ensure the barriers which prevent those in need from accessing support are removed and helped implement a range of grass roots projects for the vulnerable.
And to make sure her role continues to succeed in helping those at risk, Suzanne has been joined by former police employee, analyst Laura Adlam. Laura’s role sees her based within public health, processing vast amounts of data and information to identify who might be at risk, and how they could be supported.
Laura’s role is unique as it helps bring together the world of policing with public health, to help officers deliver more bespoke interventions based on the patterns and trends which emerge from the data.
Suzanne said: “Over the past few months there has been a lot of work going on across the North East to make sure support is in place for vulnerable people at the point when they are most in need.
“It’s vitally important that we make sure those emergency service workers – including our officers – who often act as the first point of contact to those in crisis are equipped with the right tools and information to help support that person in the best possible way.
“We can all suffer poor mental health and struggle from time to time and given the current climate, it’s important we recognise how challenging it can be for other people in a personal and professional capacity.
“This week many of you might be thinking about your mental health more than usual. And, if you are struggling, you should know it’s OK to feel that way, and you don’t have to go though it alone.”
Laura, who recently completed her masters in Psychology, added: “Our roles are a very unique way of making a difference to someone’s life but everyone can do their part – even during times like this.
“Often those in crisis benefit from having someone to talk to. We know from our research that people who lose a loved one to suicide are twice as likely to take their own life which is why it’s vital we publicise all the amazing support services and grass roots projects which are out there. Also, If U Care Share, and Cruse are doing some great work with those coming to terms with bereavement.
“As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 I would ask people to familiarise themselves with these services – you never know when someone might benefit from knowing their name.”
The Force is hoping through Suzanne and Laura, those in need can be signposted to community projects, support groups and other initiatives which might just save a life.
If you need help or support visit:
Or download the latest wellbeing and mental health guide:
You can also call 111 which now triages to a dedicated mental support line
Call CALM on 0800 585858
Text Samaritans on 116 123