Help is at hand - our suicide prevention team gear up to distribute dozens of new mental health first aid tins
14 May | 14:41

Help is at hand – that’s the message from our suicide prevention team as they get ready to distribute dozens of new mental health resource tins.

The initiative has been spearheaded by the North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network – a team made up of police, local authorities, the NHS and a range of other partners – who work together to promote wellbeing, reduce suicide and increase support for those affected by it. 

Supported by Suzanne Sleeth, Northumbria Police’s first-ever suicide prevention coordinator, scores of specially-created tins filled with bespoke materials will be given out to public facing businesses, charities and organisations.

Packed full of resources, the boxes include helplines for those struggling with bereavement and loss, safety plans for those who might be self-harming and a host of other advice booklets.

It is hoped the tins will empower their hosts to reach out to customers, service users or anyone they come into contact with they suspect are at their lowest ebb.

Suzanne said: “It’s important to remember anyone can suffer poor mental health at any time. Given the current climate, it’s especially important we recognise the challenges and difficulties some people might be experiencing in either a personal or professional capacity. 

“Over the last few years we have been working hard to ensure vulnerable people experiencing a crisis are aware of the vast amount of support available to them, and have the means to access this.

“We want to start normalising people asking for mental health help and support - just as we would expect help when suffering from a physical ailment.

“Now that businesses are opening up again, it provides a great opportunity for us to distribute these tins to anyone who wants them. Some of our suggested places would be in shielding hubs, doctors and dentists’ waiting rooms, hairdressers and barbers, libraries – basically anywhere where staff can interact with the public.

“The idea being that if a staff members senses something isn’t quite right, or maybe a regular customer confides in them they are not OK, or discloses they are having suicidal thoughts, that person is equipped with specialist resources and contact numbers which they can pass on.”

Since the creation of her role back in October 2019, Suzanne has worked tirelessly to ensure any barriers which prevent those in need from accessing support are removed.

Katherine McGleenan, Regional Suicide Prevention Lead for the North East and North Cumbria, said: “Understanding how to look after our own mental health and wellbeing, how to help others we may be concerned about, and how and where to get help should be given the same priority as knowing how to manage our physical health. However this is not always easy, partly due to stigma. The Network resource tins have been developed to help more people have easier access to the right information early. I hope that this will help more people find the information and support they need, and to prevent people feeling they have no other option than to consider suicide.”

With the help of mental health champion, Inspector Don Wade, a number of tins will be distributed across South Tyneside in the coming days as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

More will be distrusted across the wider force area in the coming weeks.

Want to be a tin host?

  • We’d ask anyone hosting to make sure they feel confident and comfortable in sharing these resources with anyone you have concerns about.
  • We’d also ask you carry out the Zero Suicide Alliance online training and learn more about suicide and self-harm on the confidence to talk about suicide could be a life saver.
  • Please check contents regularly and ensure they are replaced when needed.
  • Let us know or try and keep a record of any feedback or suggestions.

If you need help or support, or want to learn more about the resource tins, visit:

To request a tin for your organisation or business contact

You can also call 111 which now triages to a dedicated mental health support line.

Call CALM on 0800 585858

Call Samaritans on 116 123

Text SHOUT to 85258

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