World Suicide Prevention Day – Save every life

The 10 September 2020 marks World Suicide Prevention Day. 

Zero Suicide The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds.

Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge; just look at the facts and figures. In 2018, there were 6,859 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland, and for young people, aged 16-24, suicide was the biggest killer.

World Suicide Prevention Day brings organisations and communities together from around the world to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.

This year, the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is 'Working Together to Prevent Suicide.'

At King’s Health Partners, we care deeply about our students, staff, patients and the communities we serve. We are committed to supporting your mental health and wellbeing, during these unprecedented times and beyond we are here to support you.

Here are some of the ways we can work together to learn more, understand and support one another to help prevent suicide:

Take Zero Suicide Alliance Training

The Health Innovation Network, our partner Academic Health Science Network, worked extensively with the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) in 2019 to inform and develop a major free online resource designed to help reduce suicide, suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

The site was launched by the Zero Suicide Alliance earlier in this summer. The new ZSA Resources site will support government, councils and NHS bodies target services to prevent suicide, and invest to create mentally healthier communities.

You can learn more about preventing suicide and support the Mayor of London’s Zero Suicide campaign through free ‘Save a Life’ training:

  • identify when someone is presenting with suicidal thoughts/behaviour
  • be able to speak out in a supportive manner
  • empower them to signpost the individual to the correct services or support.

Here’s how our partners continue to support staff and students with their mental health and wellbeing:

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

There are a variety of ways the Trust supports staff and patients with their mental health.

With support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has opened new wellbeing zones and rest and recharge areas. These zones are dedicated spaces for staff to take a break, access the support available to them and speak to our wellbeing advisors.

These zones are currently available from 11.30am-2.30pm at the following locations:

  • Atrium 1, Guy’s Hospital
  • TOMS Riverside, St Thomas’ Hospital
  • Evelina School, 3rd floor atrium (open 10am-6pm, 7 days a week).

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Since Monday 7 September, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been sharing a series of articles from colleagues talking about World Suicide Prevention Day.

We first heard from Kieran Quirke, the Liaison Psychiatry Clinical Service Lead. There is a great deal of evidence that exists showing that patients with certain physical health conditions have a greater likelihood of developing psychiatric co-morbidities - a good example is the increased risk of depression in diabetes.

Kieran explains how Liaison Psychiatry operates at the interface between physical and mental health, the sorts of cases the team have been seeing since the start of the pandemic, and the support on offer for staff during this difficult time. These news items are being shared on the Trust’s intranet pages.

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Wellbeing Hubs offer staff the opportunity to safely connect with one another, as well as rest, recharge, eat and hydrate. Mental health staff are available on site to provide support and advice, as well as connect staff with further help available. For example, telephone-based psychologists and counsellors. The hubs are currently available at the Denmark Hill campus: in the Board Room on the ground floor of Hambleden Wing from 8am-8pm, and the Neuro-gym on the first floor of Ruskin Wing, open 24 hours a day.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is facilitating a discussion about the effects of suicide after COVID-19 at a virtual conference on September 10, 2020 from 3pm to 4.15pm. A recording will be made available shortly after the event.

On the same day, the Trust’s chaplaincy is holding a non-denominational service of remembrance for people of all faiths or none, to remember people we have lost to suicide, personally or professionally and those who we have lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

King’s College London

King's College London's health and Wellbeing Hub contains useful tips for maintaining health and wellbeing while working and studying remotely, with a focus on mental health and staying connected.

Free, confidential expert advice and support including counselling is available to all King’s College London staff on the employee assistance programme. Visit the King’s College London website and intranet for more information.

If you're not feeling okay, you can get in touch with Samaritans about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue feels.