Suicide Prevention is a key priority for Cheshire & Merseyside, and a number of local authorities organised and participated in a range of activities to mark World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) which took place this year on Sunday 10th September.

As well as promoting the activities planned by local authorities, the Champs Support Team developed a Thunderclap campaign designed to raise awareness of suicide prevention and encourage people to reach out to those who might need help. With a final support figure of 192 individuals the one off message that was posted across Twitter and Facebook received a social reach of 750,000.

As members of the the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA), Champs shared their promotional materials with the C&M local authorities. Resources included a z-card, press releases template, example social media messages and digital content for use on websites and social media.

Many local authorities planned a host of activities to mark the day, see below an overview of some of the activites that took place.

Liverpool City Council:

Details of the Champs Thunderclap campaign and the available resources from NSPA were sent to many organisations across Liverpool who work across mental health services and support services. The Spirit of Shankley - Liverpool Supporters Union supported the Champs Thuderclap campaign.

Sefton Borough Council:

Between the 10th September (World Suicide Prevention Day) and 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Sefton released 30 stories everyday for 30 days covering mental health across the borough.

Stories covered a range of topics and provided details of support services and activities taking place across Sefton including regular activities that are available in Sefton to improve mental health – coffee mornings, NAAFI breaks, drop in therapy sessions, men’s/women’s social clubs, etc.

Other initiatives and activity details included: suicide prevention training for Police, Making Every Contact Count training by MerseyCare staff and stress reduction sessions by Active Sefton.

All partners and organisations released the same story on the dame day.

The face of the 30 days was Andy Grant, a local ex-Royal Marine and Sefton partnered with www.agmotivation.co.uk an organisation focusing on veterans and young men.

St Helens Council:

Produced a month long programme that focused on suicide prevention, reducing the stigma around mental health and supporting the population of St Helens to keep themselves well and mentally fit.

On 9th September, the Mayor and Mayoress launched the campaign in Church Square where they encouraged members of the public to put messages on a card tea bag that was then placed into a card teacup. Tea bag messages read: "I keep myself well by........".

A robust media relations plan was put in place to ensure coverage during the month. The Steve Prescott Bridge was lit up on the 9th and 10th September (and on 10th Oct World Mental Health Day).

A problem solving booth was located in Church Square, Hope Centre and various schools and colleges throughout the month long campaign.      

High level results from St Helens activity around WSPD are: 
- 600 meaningful conversations were had
- 300 resource bags with materials were distributed including: programme of events, NSPA z-cards, help is at hand leaflet, 5 ways to wellbeing materials, 'timetotalk' materials and card  teabags, air fresheners with crisis numbers on
- 12 local pubs received 50 beer mats signposting people to support services and detailing crisis numbers
- 300 air fresheners with signposting details on were given to males who were displaying their cars at a Vintage Car Rally that shared the same space on Church Square on the same day.

A local resident who, herself has been bereaved by suicide, backed the campaign by setting up support groups for other parents to help support their children who are suffering mental health problems.

Applied Suicide Knowledge training was rolled out to all front line staff before WSPD. 

Warrington: 

Local groups and organisations were offered a toolkit of resources and information so they could host their own events or activities. Many of these activities were small and community based and reached groups of people (including prisoners and people in care homes) who would not normally be reached through a public event. 25 kits were issued.

60 display packs including posters and cards advertising PAPYRUS, CALM, Samaritans and Amparo, information about WSPD and details of Warrington's mental health awareness website www.happyoksad.org.uk.

A network of over 200 local individuals and organisations agreed to support mental health campaigns on social media. They were provided with suggested wording and images for social media posts. This network were also asked to join the Champs Thunderclap campaign.

Wirral:

A 36.4 mile bike ride around the Wirral peninsular was organised which saw members of Wirral Council and the local community take part.

Building on the Wirral WSPD theme of 2016 'Love Letters on Tour' Wirral introduced the A5 Soundtracked cards that were distributed with the words of the resulting poem of the 2016 initiative. Recipients of the cards were asked to read the poem and think of a relevant song, write the title in the box on the front of the card and photograph and tweet/tag it back to The Open Door Centre/SPIDER Project. Information from these will be used as material for a further phase of the initiative. Further information to follow.

Wired Carers Resource provided a drop in services for carers who might want support with their mental health.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 will take place on September 10th.