On 10 September One Team Gov held an event for World Suicide Prevention Day #WSPD2020. We brought together 14 people working in Suicide Prevention to offer a range of perspectives. Here are some of the questions that you asked on the day, answered by our contributors and organising team.
Last Thursday, on 10 September we held a virtual conference for World Suicide Prevention Day.
With so many speakers over 3 hours, we had hoped we would be able to ask our speakers to answer some questions but quickly found that we didn’t have time to include them all!
So, we’ve rounded them all up, and answered them below for you.
Many of our attendees have asked us to send resources mentioned on the day, and to share the video of the full event. Please bear with us while we pull this together, as we mentioned last week, our organising team is only 6 people with day jobs and we need to manage this in our spare time.
We’d also like your help, after the event if you’ve found any resources or information you definitely think people should know about please let us know! You can do this via the feedback form that we will be sharing with everyone shortly, or by emailing email@example.com
In the meantime, here are the questions you asked:
1. How to get involved and about the event:
Many of our attendees asked about how to get involved with One Team Gov and future events, or how to get involved more broadly in the field of Suicide Prevention.
Q: I was a MHFA at my previous role but not sure how to register this with NPSA— can you help?
A: [Penny Fosten, NPSA] Yes! You can sign up to become an individual member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance at the below link:
Q: Its been challenging, exhausting and inspiring. How can we make sure this “power” and energy doesn’t get lost?
A: [Sam Villis, Organising team] What a great question and I hope you don’t mind me turning it around — what can you do next? How can you take what you’ve learned today forward?
As we mentioned, One Team Gov is a community and movement of change-makers, we can support you to run your own events, to publish articles or to help make change where you work. If you have an idea, just email: firstname.lastname@example.org
But remember — change starts with you!
2. Resources and more:
Q: Can you repeat where I can access the Wellbeing Support grid?
A: [Paul Vittles, Organising team and MC] you’ll find the wellbeing support grid at the below link. Let us know by emailing email@example.com if you would like a hard copy.
Q: Can you please provide the link to the resources section you just mentioned?
A: [Sam Villis, Organising Team] We are busy collating resources and will shortly be sending a feedback form to all attendees for their suggestions about what we should include. Once we have everything together we will work out the best way to share it with all attendees.
However some of the resources shared by attendees within the chat on the day are below for you:
Q: Do we just google One Team Gov for the you tube presentation?
A: [Andy Sandford and Jon Hyde, Organising team] The One Team Gov YouTube channel is public and you will find lots of videos there; we will post videos of the day as soon as possible but this is likely to take us a little time to edit. Please be patient and we will share via email, and through Twitter and LinkedIn when this becomes available.
Q. Great event — can we get a copy of the chat too?
A. [Sam Villis, Organising team] Sorry, but we cannot share the chat! This is because some participants shared their personal email addresses or contact details, as well as personal information about their experiences of suicide. In fact, we are going to delete our copy of the chat transcript as soon as we can.
All of the questions raised in the chat appear in this blog post, yep, the one you’re reading now! And all resources have been removed and will form the basis of our resource pack — coming soon.
Q: Thank you Sangeeta. A beautiful talk. I missed the part of where these After Care Co-Ordinators are working? Such an essential job!
A: [Sangeeta Mahajan, Papyrus] Thank you! I was referring to; New Hampshire Hospital Concord. NH. In collaboration with NAMI a not-for profit organisation.
3. Data, AI, and technology:
Many of our speakers talked about how we might use data and technology to help in Suicide Prevention, with predictive analytics, augmented intelligence (human and computer data and information working together) and in tools already in use in the public sector. Ian Russell spoke about harmful content available online which offered a counterpoint, and a reminder that social media and the online world can sometimes be damaging.
Q. I can see the value of using this data to prevent suicide, but I’m wondering who owns this data and how safe this will be. If for example the healthcare and insurance sector will gain access to this, will it negatively influence people’s lives?
A: [Becky Inkster] This is an excellent point. Data ethics is hugely important. Protecting data must be a key priority of any digital services provider. They must have very clear terms and conditions and they must act in accordance with GDPR for countries in Europe/UK.
For the paper I mentioned in my talk, only data insights were shared, not the actual raw data from the user. While sharing data insights comes with certain limitations this allowed us to understand a snapshot of digital mental health during Covid-19 without accessing any data from any person. Often providers will report and share aggregated and or anonymous data for example with academics, but this will only occur once ethical approval has been obtained and that consent has been given to share the person’s data by that person.
The digital services providers who shared data insights with our team received approval from the user prior to sharing and the data insights did not identify anyone or contain personal information about them. Its a very important area and myself and a colleague are actually writing a book at the moment called ‘Digital Ethics in Mental Health’ as there are lots of different areas that need addressing in this sensitive space.
We must ensure that data or predictions derived from data do not negatively influence people’s lives as you so rightly point out.
Q: Why are just hip-hop lyrics being focused upon and not any other music genre? That in itself may be a concern
A: [Becky Inkster] This is absolutely right — all types of music and genres and lyrics should be examined. For me personally, my passion and knowledge is primarily in the area of hip-hop music and culture and so I feel I know lyrics from this space more than other genre types. But I agree fully that all music and lyrics can be used to connect with people!
4. Diversity and those who have been disproportionately affected by lockdown:
Many of our speakers talked about how certain groups had been affected by the impacts of COVID-19 and lockdown.
Q: Ian Howley, Please could these slides be sent out following this event? These statistics would be really good to reference in some upcoming work around loneliness and supporting groups who have been disproportionately affected through ‘lockdown’.
A: [Ian Howley, LGBT Hero] You don’t need to wait to view the resource pack, key information that I shared can be found here:
5. Supporting friends and colleagues:
Q: I am a mental health ally and have recently received a rise in calls from managers struggling to support their staff. Any resources/discussion forums anyone can share specifically on assisting managers would be great
A: [Paul Vittles, Organising team] There are a number of websites focused more on workplace mental health and suicide prevention, including a particularly good one in Australia called Heads Up:
In the UK, this BITC Guide is very good:
…and many Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Providers have a service for managers to get advice. If you work within the public service you employer is likely to have an EAP, and central government departments all have provision — search your intranet for EAP, Employee Assistance Programme, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to send you the details.
Q: Will there be information on how best to handle a person who is suicidal?
A: [Sam Villis, Organising Team] Some of our brilliant speakers touched on how we might speak to people experiencing a mental health crisis or before a crisis occurs, but if you would like specific training for this, we recommend:
Q: “I’m interested in how suicide prevention strategies could be applied/tailored to neurodivergent, including autistic people” and, “I’m interested in that too having a son with ASD and mental health and also being the senior point of contact for learning difficulties”
A: [Paul Vittles and Sam Villis, Organising team] thank you for the questions, we hope that some of the resources we have shared offer some general strategies for you, and would recommend looking at charities specifically focussed on supporting people on the autism spectrum for more information.
The charity, Ambitious About Autism includes a range of resources around mental health and wellbeing for individuals and parents which you may find useful:
The below link also offers a range of tips for parents and further resources:
Q. Can you help me find a course where I can train to become a Mental Health First Aider please?
If you work within the civil or public service you should enquire within your department to see how they co-ordinate and manage MHFA volunteers. If you’re interested to organise your own training, you will find some courses below: