The UK’s third ‘CALMzone’ will be launched across the Thames Valley tomorrow in a bid to prevent male suicide.
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, the Suicide Prevention and Intervention Network (SPIN) is hosting a conference at Stoke Mandeville Stadium for professionals and members of the public. The aim is to promote the message that suicide prevention is everybody’s business.
In the UK, 78 per cent of suicides are male – which is why SPIN will now be working with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), an award-winning charity that exists to prevent male suicide in the UK.
Thames Valley will be the third CALMzone in the UK, following in the footsteps of Merseyside and London Tri-Borough area. A CALMzone is an area of the UK where CALM’s helpline and campaign is actively promoted and callers to the helpline are signposted to local services in a variety of ways.
SPIN project facilitator Matt Williams, from Oxford Health NHS FT, will be responsible for promoting CALM locally across the area and seeking support from local employers, sports clubs, along with music and comedy venues, to reach any men locally who may be down or in crisis.
CALM’s dedicated service is free, confidential, and anonymous. Their phone line and webchat provision is staffed by professionals who offer support, signposting and information to callers every day from 5pm to midnight.
The CALMzone is being supported by Oxford Health NHS FT, along with Oxfordshire County Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Milton Keynes Council and the six Berkshire unitary authorities.
Matt Williams, from Oxford Health NHS FT, said: “We are really pleased to be able to hold this year’s conference in a sporting arena as this reflects our intention of reaching men locally in a non-medical environment.
“Too many people who end their life by suicide have not sought help via the usual health channels and so we need to be more proactive to reach out and engage with those who may be at risk.”
Karen Lascelles, suicide prevention lead nurse for Oxford Health NHS FT and conference organiser, said: “Suicide affects so many people each year and the impact of suicide pervades families and communities over generations.
“Suicide is too often seen as only a ‘health’ issue which can only be dealt with by health professionals. However, suicide can affect anybody and it is vital – if we’re serious about reducing deaths by suicide – that suicide and suicide prevention are seen as being everybody’s business. We all have a role to play.”
Dr Geoff Payne, Medical Director at NHS England, said: “It’s important that health, public and voluntary organisations work closely together to improve services and provide effective care and support to those who may be at risk of ending their life by suicide.
“This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day Thames Valley Conference aims to bring together these local organisations and give professionals and volunteers the opportunity to share valuable knowledge and experience.
“We hope this will positively impact local services, improve people’s experience of care and help to reduce the risk of suicide by raising awareness of the issues.”