A message from our former CEO
Until recently it’s been my assumption that, in striving to to achieve Dorset Mind’s Mission, we would be automatically contributing to the prevention of suicide in our county.
But in recent months I’ve changed my view about this. The more I talk to experts, work with partners and reflect on my own experiences, the more I believe that we need to take more focussed action, and make more directed efforts to prevent people specifically dying from suicide.
And so in the last few weeks, and in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, Dorset Mind has been developing its own Suicide Prevention Strategy. This will become one of the organisation’s key pillar documents as we move into the 5th year of our 5 Year Strategy along with our new Equality Policy and our focus on building partnerships and collaborations.
The Suicide Prevention Strategy has 3 key components that relate to our overall Mission Statement. The first relates to education – education that goes beyond our intention to educate people generally about mental wellbeing. We need to educate people about what can contribute to thoughts of suicide and how to talk about it. And we also need to educate people about where to get help and what to do, specifically in times of crisis.
The second relates to battling the stigma about Suicide and the mental health difficulties that often go along side it. To do this we must talk more about Suicide. And so our Strategy will include actions that share stories of resilience and hope from people who have suicidal thoughts, that work with the media to report suicides responsibly and that campaign to target people who are particularly at risk of dying from suicide.
The final component of the strategy focuses on how we support our participants so that they get the help they need to prevent suicide. We must take positive action to reach specific people who are at high risk of dying by suicide, take actions that ensure we operate as safely as possible and take actions that ensure everyone we come into contact with receives the right information about how and where to get help when they’re in crisis.
How will we know if any of this makes any difference? The truth is we may never know the answer but I believe we MUST try. And we are much more likely to succeed by working closely together with partners and with NHS and public health colleagues. If we all work together with the attitude that all suicides are preventable then we stand a chance of making a difference.
But the truth is that suicide prevention is EVERYBODY’s business. If I could write a suicide prevention strategy for our entire Dorset community it would have the same three components:
Let’s EDUCATE ourselves about how to talk about suicide and go out and do it.
Let’s all tackle the stigma by TALKING about suicide more. The more we talk, the more we reduce the stigma, the faster we can spread the word that there IS help available. And that there ARE alternatives to ending life.
Let’s all get better at ASKING FOR HELP, lets make sure our friends and family know where to turn if things get tough. And let’s make it ok for people to tell us if they are struggling.
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Our blogger today, is our inspirational former CEO, Marianne who always speaks from the heart and leads by example.
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Dorset Mind is a self-funded local charity that helps people in Dorset experiencing mental health problems access the vital support they need. The charity is at the very heart of our communities shaping futures, changing and in some cases literally saving lives.