Bath & District Samaritans were fortunate to be offered some money, via the Zero Suicide Collaborative, from SEEDBED, to promote suicide prevention.
We were inspired: The example of the “Don’t flush your life away” Posters in Pubs project in Cornwall inspired us to think about whether there was a way of replicating this project - and when SEEDBED donated some funds with the express request that the money was spent on suicide prevention in Trowbridge, we were keen to see if we could replicate their example.
Why Trowbridge? Although Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire it is an area of relatively high deprivation, when compared with other parts of Wiltshire and with other parts of Bath and District Samaritans area.
Would a pubs project work? We gradually realised that unlike Cornwall, there was no clear, local brewery to work with in the Trowbridge area, and when we approached pubs on an individual basis, some were very happy to display posters, but others were not so keen to.
A different approach: Bath & District Samaritans decided instead to focus their efforts on other key sites, including GP surgeries, local hairdressers, barbers, the CAB, Library, local chemists, gym and the foodbank.
What we did: It was agreed we would write to all individual GPs as so many people who are distressed or feeling suicidal consult their GP in the weeks before taking their own life. We wrote to all 28 GPs, so they each had their own letter, leaflets, cards and posters. The letter was very introductory, explaining how we help people and what we don’t do, ie give advice, and offered to come and speak to any group of GPs who might be interested. We decided to suggest that GPs give a card or leaflet to anyone they thought might benefit by ringing us. We thought it would be easier for the GP to give a card or leaflet than to make a third party referral, and possibly easier for the person seeing the GP as they would be more in control of their situation.
We also wrote to the Practice Managers, for information; and the teams of District Nurses, Practice Nurses and Health Visitors in each surgery, as we thought that these staff groups might get to know their patients better in some cases than the GPs.
Visits with posters, cards and leaflets were also made to local hairdressers, barbers, the CAB, Library, local chemists, gym and the foodbank.
Many many thanks go to Judy Hosegood and others within Bath & District Samaritans, and to SEEDBED for providing the funding to enable posters, leaflets and cards to be printed & for this work to happen.
Each poster, card, leaflet, or conversation has the potential to save a life. Thank you to everyone who helped.