Suicide prevention experts and campaigners will meet in Liverpool next week for the 5th Zero Suicide International Summit.

The event will run for two days at the iconic Royal Liver Building on June 24-25, which will light up in orange alongside other civic buildings in the city, to mark the occasion and will be hosted by award-winning broadcaster, Claudia Hammond.

Run in partnership between Henry Ford Health and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust (hosts of the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA)), summit speakers include:

The summit programme includes panel discussions one of which will include Professor Joe Rafferty CBE, one of the co-founders of the ZSA and Chief Executive Officer of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. The panel will discuss AI Machine Learning and Technology in Suicide Prevention Practices and will include a call for further investment from all sectors to help with research.

“There can be this negativity about AI technology but at Mersey Care we’re already found several ways to incorporate it into our suicide prevention work,” revealed Professor Rafferty. “We’re already trialling an internet interceptor on our website where helpful messages automatically pop up if anyone searches for ‘suicide’, while we’ve also been working with Holmusk to look at all deaths by suicide in our care, using their algorithms to flag risks and helped inform the development of a new pathway of care.

“But if AI technology is to continue helping research into suicide prevention, then we need investment in the UK and throughout the world. We need all sectors, from private businesses to individuals to get involved in a co-ordinated response – the more we understand about risk factors, the more we can help those who feel so helpless that they believe taking their own life is their only option.”

Professor Rafferty will be joined on the panel by Nawal Roy, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Holmusk, who are building the world’s largest evidence platform for mental and behavioural health, Dan Joyce, consultant psychiatrist and Professor of Connected Mental Health at the Mental Health Research for Innovation Centre (a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funded joint enterprise between Mersey Care and University of Liverpool) and Bobbi Jo Yaborough, a clinical psychologist and health services researcher who works to improve care and health outcomes among individuals with serious mental illnesses in the USA.

The Zero Suicide International Summit is named for the innovative, evidence-based suicide intervention model developed at Henry Ford Health, a Detroit, Michigan-based health system. Henry Ford Health experts developed the Zero Suicide approach in 2001. Within a year of implementing the strategy, the health system experienced a 70-80% suicide reduction rate.

Other topics being discussed at the conference include:

  • Why Zero Suicide has been adopted as the standard approach within the suicide prevention community
  • How it’s been implemented in the USA and Australia
  • Efforts to implement Zero Suicide in Southeast Asia
  • Considering workforce wellness within suicide prevention strategies
  • Funding and return on investment for Zero Suicide.

The full agenda for the two-day summit can be found on the summit event website, which includes other useful information about the event and previous summits, the last of which was held in Rotterdam in 2018.