Come together to help tackle suicide

Samaritans provides emotional support to people in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at ris

Samaritans provides emotional support to people in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide in the UK and Ireland. Picture: Chris O'Donovan - Credit: Chris O'Donovan

A self-help community group, a talking group for men and a bereavement support service are some of the innovative suicide prevention initiatives being discussed at a Suicide Prevention Summit taking place today (Wednesday).

Leaders from health and care organisations across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) are gathering virtually to discuss some of the latest work in suicide prevention happening both locally and nationally, and reflect and build on what has been achieved.

At the end of the event, organisations and individuals will be invited to pledge their support to take the 20-minute Zero Suicide Alliance training and encourage others to do the same. This is part of a local ambition for the West of England to become a Zero Suicide region.

Following on from the success of the first conference held in 2020, organisations have worked in partnership with the Independent Mental Health Network to host the upcoming summit which is part of the Shine On Suicide Prevention Campaign.

Jo Walker, chief executive of North Somerset Council, who will be speaking at the summit, said: “Suicide is preventable. This is such an important message and I’m pleased to be taking part in the summit, working with partners across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to support this vital work.

“Suicide attempts, self-harm and suicidal thoughts represent a major public health challenge. And while early data shows there’s been no overall increase in suicide rates since the pandemic started, this could change.

"The last 16 months have been unprecedented and challenging in so many ways. But we can all learn more about preventing suicide, stay alert to warning signs and get through it together.

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“I’d encourage everyone to sign up to the free training from the Zero Suicide Alliance. It takes about 20 minutes to do and, having done the training, I definitely feel better placed to identify when someone is presenting with suicidal thoughts or behaviour, be able to speak to them in a supportive way and signpost to the correct services or support.”

Members of the public are also invited to attend the event to share their experiences and ideas about suicide prevention.

The suicide prevention conference takes place from 10am–1.30pm over Zoom. To register, visit West of England Suicide Prevention Summit Tickets, Wed 16 Jun 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

For more information, email