Dozens of individuals with lived experience of self-harm and suicide will continue to help influence and shape local prevention and support services across the subregion

More than 45 individuals across Cheshire and Merseyside with lived experience of self-harm and suicide will continue to help influence and shape local prevention and support services.

The Cheshire and Merseyside Lived Experience Network (LEN) for self-harm and suicide led by Wirral Mind on behalf of the NO MORE Suicide Partnership has been recommissioned by Champs Public Health Collaborative for another 12 months, bringing together the expertise of those with lived experience of suicide and/or self-harm.

The LEN ensures that those with experience of suicide and self-harm continue to have a voice and their lived experience is used to help towards reducing and preventing self-harm and suicide across the subregion by providing peer support and offering advice, critique and co-production to self-harm and suicide prevention programmes, policies and plans.

The LEN brings together people who have previously attempted suicide or who have experienced suicidal thoughts; those who have lost a loved one to suicide; people who support someone who experiences suicidal thoughts; and people who have been affected by self-harm and suicide.

Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health for St Helens and Lead Director for Suicide Prevention, said:

“We are delighted to recommission the Lived Experience Network for another twelve months. The insight and knowledge that those with lived experience bring to Cheshire and Merseyside’s suicide and self-harm strategy is distinctive and valuable. It is so important to understand and embrace lived experience. Listening to, hearing, and acting on the experiences of people with lived experience is crucial.”

Network members have been involved a wide range of programmes including a men’s mental health campaign for Cheshire and Merseyside; self-harm safe kits pilot; crisis resource leaflet development; StayAlive App user testing; Liverpool City Council’s Suicide Prevention Campaign development and lots more including the new Suicide Prevention Strategy consultation for Cheshire and Merseyside.

Rachel Gilbert, Training Manager, Wirral Mind, said:

“We are very pleased that members of the Lived Experience Network will continue to work with organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside to offer that ‘critical friend’ and embed co-production across activities. Working with suicide prevention leads within public health across the subregion, mental health programmes and mental health trusts, we will ensure LEN members continue to have the opportunity to actively participate in groups, actions and strategy reviews.”

Anna, a Lived Experience Member (name changed for publication), said:

“I have been involved with the LEN for a while now and it has been a great experience. I have talked about what it is like to be in a family that is grieving from losing a family member by suicide. It is good to talk with others about their experiences of suicide and how it has affected them. I have also been helping with the Reach Out advertising campaign giving my input of what was good or bad about it.

“I’m glad my input has been recognised in this and my voice listened to.”

Colin, a Lived Experience Member (name changed for publication), said:

“I have really enjoyed my experience of the LEN network to date. I have been able to engage from different perspectives, personally and professionally and share my ideas and perceptions on resources such as support websites, mental health media campaigns, and other resources.

“I was able to recall how I felt when I was suicidal and look at these resources as though I was looking for help in real time.”

If you would like to find out more about the LEN or how to join the Network click here.