In September 2015, Mersey Care a community and mental health services trust in Liverpool pledged to bring its suicide rate down to zero amongst its patients by adopting a ‘Zero Suicide’ policy.
The foundations for Mersey Care’s zero suicide policy is built on four key strands, with each one as important as the other in changing the working culture within the Trust. The emphasis was on working better and revising current practices rather than adding to already heavy current workloads.
- Competent Workforce – Developing and implementing a learning strategy across the whole organisation. With all staff completing mandatory Level One competency based suicide prevention training in 2017, which forms the basis of the ZSA suicide prevention course.
- Service User and Partner Engagement – Co-producing materials and resources to aid self-care with service users and collaboration with primary care, emergency department clinical teams and wider health and social care partners.
- Safe and Effective Care and Treatment – Integrating community services, establishing intensive care following inpatient care and in times of crisis, ensuring medicine safety, and restricting access to means and modification of other risk factors.
- Research and Evaluation – Standardising post-incident reviews to collect, analyse and disseminate data related to suicides and near fatal suicide attempts to optimise the learning from these incidents and ensure that improvements can be made quickly.
Dr David Fearnley, Mersey Care’s Medical director, emphasized the importance of everyone in the organisation being properly trained in suicide prevention saying: “You may think in community and mental health based services that everyone is highly qualified to talk about suicide and difficult subjects, but that isn’t the case. People need to be trained, they need to practice, they need to get feedback and they need to know that they are doing it effectively.”
Click HERE to see Mersey Care's Zero Suicide Policy, or to find out more about the Trust's suicide prevention work, please visit: www.centreforperfectcare.com