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Reducing risk of suicide: advice & resources for relatives, friends, health professionals & those at risk

The "Connecting with People" website has the strapline "Promoting emotional resilience & suicide mitigation".  On the site's "About us" page, they write "Open Minds Alliance CIC was formally established in 2010. The organisation emerged from a collaboration between Dr Alys Cole-King, liaison psychiatrist and specialist in suicide prevention and Gavin Peake-Jones a specialist in implementing transformation in organisations.  Our belief is that emotional distress, and tragically, suicide, still affects and takes far too many lives. We felt that responsibility for people with suicidal thoughts was seen to lie with specialist mental health services and others were more nervous to get involved. However we knew that early intervention from a colleague, friend, compassionate health provider or care giver could make a real difference to saving lives. We have developed our training and resources to be as accessible as possible. We believe everyone has the capacity to help and that this can happen safely. We have developed our training and materials using the very latest research about what works. We are working in partnership with professional bodies, charities and other providers of suicide prevention training. Open Minds Alliance CIC is a community interest company. Any profit is retained in the company to deliver more of this essential work."

The health specialist input is by a committed psychiatrist Alys Cole-King who "works nationally with Royal Colleges, voluntary bodies, academics and sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention. Alys has been developing the innovative Connecting with People training for the last 19 years. It aims to reduce stigma, increase understanding and compassion regarding self harm and suicidal thoughts and build up emotional resilience. She has contributed to the RCGP mental health curriculum ... The Connecting with People training now forms part of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) education programme, the  2012 BMJ Masterclass series and is a key module on the Royal College of General Practitioners accredited Primhe Diploma in Mental Health. It is a founding project within the College of Medicine. It is cited in the RCPsych College Report on self harm and suicide and has secured the support of the RCGP/RCPsych Primary Care Mental Health Forum and the RCGP Rural and remote Forum. Alys can be followed on twitter @AlysColeKing."

Impressive and heart-warming.  The site provides a range of resources.  These include three general leaflets developed with the Royal College of Psychiatrists - "Feeling overwhelmed: helping you stay safe" (a leaflet for anybody struggling to cope when bad things happen in their life), "Feeling on the edge: helping you get through it" (for people in distress attending the Emergency Department following self harm or with suicidal thoughts) and "U can cope" (to help young people develop the ability to cope with difficulties in their life).  There are also a couple of publications for health professionals - the 4 page "RCGP RCPsych Suicide Mitigation in Primary Care factsheet June 2012" and the 9 page "Compassionate care: the theory and the reality".

Alys Cole-King has co-authored an impressive range of academic papers in this area and put together half a dozen 1/2 or 1 day trainings on Suicide and Self-Harm Awareness, Suicide Response, Emotional Resilience, and Training Trainers.  See the website's "Courses" page for information about these options.  There is a 22 minute film "U can cope" viewable on the site, links to a very helpful list of relevant UK-based organizations, and publicity for a campaign - "Together with Samaritans and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, we are leading a coalition of more than one hundred UK organisations - from mental health bodies to the Professional Cricketers' Association and the Rugby Players' Association - to spread the message that it is possible to overcome suicidal thoughts and feelings and that there are many resources available to help those who are struggling to cope".  Excellent and very worthwhile.

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