From the UK National Representative

A new “Suicide Prevention Research Network” has been established in Northern Ireland by Dr. Karen Galway, Lecturer in Mental Health at Queen’s University Belfast, and Prof. Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University. The network, funded in part by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Partnerships Award seeks to foster and enhance existing links between academics, community-led organisations, including the Family Voices Forum and statutory and professional bodies.

Other good news coming out of Northern Ireland was the recent announcement that Prof. O’Neill has also been appointed Interim Mental Health Champion, a role where she will be expected to serve as a public advocate for mental health, participating in the public debate around mental resilience, suicide, mental health and recovery. In her role as a consensus builder, she will help integrate the ideas of mental resilience and mental health in all public policy making; she will serve as an adviser to senior stakeholders, including Government and she will challenge decisions where mental wellbeing and suicide prevention are not considered.

In Wales, Dr. Alys Cole-King, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of ‘4 Mental Health’, has worked with NHS England to co-produce http://www.wellbeingandcoping.net/ to support COVID19 distress and enable people to bolster coping strategies and build a Wellbeing Plan.

Dr. Steve Platt, Emeritus Professor of Health and Policy Research at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has been working as an adviser to the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group and co-chairing the Academic Advisory Group with Prof. Rory O’Connor, Chair in Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow, which has been established to provide research evidence and evaluation methodology relevant to the successful implementation of Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan (Every Life Matters). In November, 2019, Prof. Platt also co-chaired a meeting of the World Health Organisation National Suicide Prevention Strategy Implementation and Evaluation meeting in Geneva, which discussed the implementation of national suicide prevention strategies and considered feasible approaches to help other countries develop their own strategies.

In England, Dr. Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication at Bournemouth University and Dr. Sallyanne Duncan, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Media Ethics at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have launched ‘The Suicide Reporting Toolkit” for journalists and journalism educators. Supported by the Ethical Journalism Network, an international network of media professionals who advance education in ethics and human rights, the toolkit provides practical application of global suicide reporting guidelines by embedding them into the reporting process and showing journalists how to apply guidelines in all aspects of their reporting. You can find the toolkit here: www.suicidereportingtoolkit.com.

Anne Luce