Today (21st January) marks the first of 40 Suicide First Aid Lite training sessions for frontline workers in Greater Manchester in an effort to make the city-region more suicide aware.
Funded by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership as part of its Shining a Light on Suicide campaign, the training will give 600 frontline and advice sector staff a greater understanding of suicide, teach them how to recognise that someone may be struggling, how to ask them directly about suicide and where they can find support.
Suicide First Aid Lite places an emphasis on the role that we all have in preventing suicide and the positive difference anyone can make, not just mental health professionals. Those invited on the training include people working in sectors such as housing, financial advice, domestic abuse, welfare rights, homelessness, employment, at food banks and other frontline services that work directly with Greater Manchester residents.
The practical workshops have been developed from evidence-based research and at the end of the 3-hour online course, attendees will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to confidently support someone experiencing suicidal thoughts and keep them safe, in both professional and personal settings.
Andrea Newton, Training Consultant at Achievement By Design Coaching Consulting Training, said: “I qualified as a tutor to deliver Suicide Intervention Training following my own time rooting around at rock bottom.
“Having peered over the edge myself, I realised the incredible difference it made to me in being able to talk about my feelings to someone who didn’t shy away from the subject. Not for them to be a counsellor or therapist, but to simply allow me to open up and help me to access the help I might need. Using my 20+ years of delivering training, I knew this was the way for me to pay it back.
“To have people around me who did not shy away from talking about the sensitive subject was absolutely critical in my recovery and I know that delivering training to 600 people in Greater Manchester will have a positive impact on our community. In the fight against suicide, we should never underestimate the power of a single confident conversation.”
Judd Skelton, Chair of Greater Manchester Suicide Prevention Programme Board, said: “One in five of us will experience suicidal thoughts in our lifetime and training frontline staff to be able to spot the signs that someone is struggling and know how to help will have a huge impact.
“This training marks another step forward in making Greater Manchester more suicide aware and follows on from The Lions Barber’s Collective BarberTalk training that we rolled out to a number of hair professionals in 2020.
“We know that we all have a role to play in preventing suicide. You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to help someone who is feeling suicidal – you just need to ask and listen.
“I urge everyone to take part in the free 20-minute Learn to Save a Life training, which teaches you how to help someone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Over 22,000 people in Greater Manchester have already taken part and it really could help you save a life.”
Suicide affects us all. Encourage someone to talk before suicide seems their only option. Together we can help prevent suicide. Find out how at www.shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk
If you’re struggling to cope, call Samaritans on 116 123 or text Shout on 85258.
Take the free 20-minute training to learn how to save a life.
If you’re bereaved by suicide, you do not need to deal with your grief alone. Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can find the right support for you.