New Blog Post: Ellen Wilkinson talks about the South West Zero Suicide Collaborative
This week we talk to Ellen Wilkinson about the South West Zero Suicide Collaborative
The South West Patient Safety Collaborative has provided funding to support the South West Zero Suicide Collaborative in 2016-17.
Ellen explains: “We launched the South West Zero Suicide Collaborative in October 2014. The South West has had high and increasing rates of suicide with no regional group looking at suicide prevention. I was inspired by talking to one of the faculty members from the mental health patient safety collaborative, Dr Michael Holland, who had been to Detroit and told me about another innovator, Ed Coffey, who had significantly reduced suicide in the Henry Ford Health System.
In the UK, only 25% of people who die by suicide were recently known to mental health services, and only 63% had seen a general practitioner, so a whole system approach was necessary, reaching well beyond traditional health partners.
We used the breakthrough collaborative series as a model for learning sessions and created five two-day learning events. We also held a launch event bringing together 60 different organisations and over 300 people.
We used the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) quality improvement training to help support the programme and supported initiatives such as ‘letters of hope’ for suicidal people, ‘seek help’ signs and posters, deterrents at suicide destinations and campaigns to target those most at risk.
The Collaborative involved 60 organisations, and brought together people & organisations from across the South West to share knowledge, skills and information with Faculty including: Public Health, Mental Health, Primary Care, IHI Fellows, Experts with Lived Experience, Samaritans, bereavement charities, charitable and voluntary organisations. In addition, police, fire rescue, railway and coastal safety (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) agencies became involved.
Our ethos is that we believe that one suicide is one too many and we are learning from the experiences of people who have been affected by suicide. We also believe that many small incremental changes put together can contribute to building safer communities and we are working to support local network groups as they develop their suicide prevention plans.
“We’ve had some really good feedback out of the project. One of the outcomes is a rejuvenated local network in several of the geographical patches. Our pub posters were also shortlisted in the BMA awards recently, which we were really pleased about. Data has been particularly difficult to come by due to the diffuse nature of the interventions, but we intend to continue with the project, building on the work we’ve carried out so far.”