23 June 2016
Trust hosts ninth Suicide Prevention Conference
Our ninth Suicide
Prevention Conference created plenty of food for thought this
The tone of this year's conference seemed to be set right from
the off: "Suicide is a major public health issue," said our
non-executive director, Ruth Brunt, opening the event.
"Suicide is a uniquely devastating event...it affects families,
friends and loved ones for many years [following the death]," she
The audience, made up of health professionals, support staff,
carers, service users, and families, were shown a short film that
demonstrated how the NHS usually supports people with lived
experience of suicide well, but that we sometimes get it very
wrong. The film reminded attendees of the need to "consider the
person" behind every statistic.
The first keynote speaker of the day was Angela Samata.
Following the death of her partner, Mark some years ago, Angela has
become a prominent figure in suicide prevention. As part of the BBC's In the Mind season of mental health programmes
earlier this year, Angela's film 'Life After Suicide' became one of
the most acclaimed and talked about.
Angela talked openly about how the death of Mark had impacted on
her life and those of her children. She told the audience of the
journey she has been on since that time, sharing both the
difficulties and the progress that her family has made. Her message
was that nobody should be defined by suicide and that life does -
and must - continue.
Next up was health editor for BBC Points West, Matthew Hill.
Matthew had chosen the theme of 'Suicide and the media: public
interest versus compassionate reporting', a subject which led to
very challenging questions and some illuminating answers.
Matthew explained the difficulty of trying to cover complex
issues such as mental health in a very short news package, while
staff offered him guidance on more acceptable terms which could be
adopted when talking about certain conditions or incidents.
The day continued with a range of workshops, networking
opportunities and further presentations.
Pictured (click for larger image): (Top left)
Matthew Hill with Ruth Brunt, (top right) Matthew with Angela
Samata (centre) Angela during her talk.