The importance of urging people to ‘keep talking’ was highlighted at a regional conference aimed at tackling suicide and self-harm.
The Suicide and Self-Harm Research North West (SSHaRE NoW) conference took place this month, bringing together clinicians, people with lived experience, academics, and researchers to share their expertise.
The conference, funded by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, raises awareness and understanding of self-harm and suicide by presenting some of the latest research in the field, providing opportunities to hear from individuals with lived experience of self-harm and suicide, and inviting a panel discussion on key topics.
Helen Parry, NHS England’s clinical network manager for suicide prevention, self-harm and bereavement for the Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “The panel discussion showed some interesting areas to look at and some real areas for development, which was fantastic.
“The theme of the day was very much about ‘let’s keep talking’ – keep sharing good ideas and services that work for the community we serve.
“Everyone knows there is a long way to go to address these growing concerns but there was definitely enough passion and enthusiasm at the conference to continue this journey.
“The conference highlighted the importance of suicide prevention being everyone’s business and the continued need to work together to prevent deaths from suicide.”
Keynote speakers at the conference included Neil Smith, suicide prevention lead for Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, Prof Andrew Ireland, pro-vice-chancellor for students and teaching at the University of Central Lancashire, and Alice Hendy, from suicide prevention charity R;pple, showcasing the work they are each developing to tackle suicide and self-harm and to get people talking openly about this sensitive subject.
Helen added: “By getting people talking about suicide and self-harm we can improve access to services, attract more research, address quality and share projects.”
The conference also showcased research from Dr Caroline Clements, Dr Peter Taylor, Dr Jen Chopra, Dr Kathryn Gardner, and Dr Pooja Saini, demonstrating how much work is ongoing to tackle suicide and self-harm.