The Northern Sub-Regional Suicide Prevention Group Grant Scheme 2022/2023 has come to a conclusion this spring with its end of project report now completed. The funding supported projects which helped to develop suicide safer communities:

  • Population focused prevention – raising awareness, campaigns, resources, training.
  • Targeted preventions – community action, training, campaigns, events.
  • Crisis interventions and recovery phase interventions – focused community support for groups at higher risk, carers and those bereaved by suicide.

Five organisations were funded to deliver projects: Chilli Studios, Foundation of Light, Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, Tyneside Women’s Health and Vision & Hearing Support.

“It has given me the chance to network with other fantastic organisations and charities and meet the wonderful people involved with them. It has enabled me to grow my knowledge of what is out there to help anyone”.

(Foundation of Light, Game of II Halves project evaluation report 2023)

In the first of two blog posts about the impact of the Grant Scheme, we explore who we reached and the impact this has had.

Who we reached

The five funded projects directly engaged over 300 people with lived experience or at risk of suicide, crossing a broad spectrum of demographic identities. There were over 500 sessions delivered, targeted across Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Sunderland, as well as other areas of the North East which benefitted. (It is worth noting there was also a significant estimated indirect engagement via digital media and events.)

Project learning

A key learning from project delivery was the challenge of gathering demographic and personal data from participants. However, as the graphs above show, a significant amount of data was still gathered.

Co-design and co-production was central to much of the work. This helped to increase the diversity of participants, including the relatively high numbers of non-white people. It was also positive to see significant reach into seldom heard communities, such as those identifying as LGBTQ+ and those in employment.

Other demographic trends were more along the lines of what would be expected, with a large proportion of those engaged identifying as having a disability, and more women than men taking part (one of the five projects worked exclusively with women).

Learning from the projects also reinforced the importance of co-production and co-design with people with lived experience. This can help with addressing the sensitivity and stigma around the subjects of suicide and self-harm, and ensures greater reach, as participants are more ‘bought in’ to the project and its objectives.

The five funded projects made use of a variety of approaches for prevention and awareness raising, such as exploiting the potential reach and anonymity of digital media, alongside targeted interventions (creative/social/educational group work, counselling and peer support) for communities at risk. This mix of one to one/peer support and wider awareness raising meant the projects reached the widest possible range of people, and enabled them to engage with the topic in a way that was most appropriate for their circumstances.

Project Background:

The suicide prevention grants came from NHS England funding via North East North Cumbria Integrated Care System which has now completed year 3 of a 3-year programme, with projects running from February 2022 to February 2023. The five VCSE grants, totalling £169,782, were managed by the third sector, initially by Blue Stone Collaborative, then concluding with Ways to Wellness, following their 2022 merger. The focus for the final stage of funding was on fewer (but larger) projects that made the best use of partnerships and collaborations and those from organisations that did not focus solely on mental health.

“What can I say,.. Exceeded my expectations! They Keynote speakers were excellent and relatable on both a professional and personal level. The number and variety of organisations represented was great to see, and all VERY open and welcoming.”

(Foundation of Light, Game of II Halves suicide prevention conference feedback, 2022)

This is the first of two Ways to Wellness articles posts exploring the impact and learning from the Northern Sub-Regional Suicide Prevention Group Grant Scheme 2022/2023.

For more information on this project or to discuss your own ideas for health innovation projects please contact us.