Parliamentary reception makes a big impact
Over 100 attendees came to our parliamentary reception On board with suicide prevention on 23rd February, where we showcased the effectiveness of our partnership with the rail industry and launched a new policy call.
Alistair Burt, the UK Government Minister with responsibility for mental health, attended, as did Shadow Minister Luciana Berger.
We set out the case for improved training on suicide prevention for front-line NHS staff in order to prevent people reaching crisis point in the first place, and distributed a policy briefing setting out the reasons why this sort of training is so important.
There were speeches from our CEO Ruth Sutherland, Mark Carne (CEO, Network Rail), Charles Walker MP, Barry Sheerman MP and Michael Mansfield QC, a campaigning barrister who has now turned his attention to the issue of suicide after the sad death of his daughter last year. We were pleased that the Minister was also able to give a response to the event, and that he recognised the need for the Government to carry out further work on suicide prevention.
Feedback from MPs, peers and other attendees was that it was interesting and a helpful opportunity to discuss the issue: we will now be following up with key decision makers who attended to see how we can translate their interest into real political change.
CEO Ruth Sutherland says: “If, as a society, we are really serious about reducing suicide, we need to ensure that everyone feels comfortable talking about mental health and wellbeing, and has the knowledge to be able to do so. Training of health staff is an important start; our longer-term goal is sparking a national conversation about these important issues.”