In April 2023, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide was granted funding by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to deliver our suicide prevention SP-EAK and ASIST training to those living and working within the council’s footprint.

Although PAPYRUS is a charity with a focus on the prevention of young suicide, the confidence and skills gained as a result of participating in our different training offerings can be used across all age ranges to develop suicide-safer communities. Sandwell council believe that suicide is not inevitable, and as a result, has developed an action plan in collaboration with local services and those with lived experience. This plan states that they will raise awareness of suicide prevention through training for all frontline staff, and this is where PAPYRUS comes into the equation.

One of our first moves into the area was working with the local public health development officers in each of the six regions of Sandwell. These officers each have an in-depth knowledge of their region and it’s needs, meaning they could provide us with insight and contacts they felt would benefit us in engaging in their communities.

Through a mixture of online and face-to-face meetings focused on the health and wellbeing within each region, we have been able to share the work that PAPYRUS does across the country, promoting our HOPELINE247 helpline and its support. We have also been able to raise awareness about our funded training, enabling as many people across Sandwell as possible to take advantage of the offer to develop their skills and confidence in suicide prevention.

Jenny and Hannah, who work as Community Development Officers within the PAPYRUS England North team, said they have enjoyed many trips within the local area, visiting each region, as a result of their work in Sandwell. These days out allowed the PAPYRUS team to speak with a wide range of individuals and organisations, some of who had never encountered PAPYRUS before and others who signpost to us regularly. Engaging in those conversations has helped us spread the word about suicide prevention training in West Midlands and across the UK, and saw many of those our teams spoke to signing up and participating in our SP-EAK sessions. These days out also allowed us to see the fantastic work that is ongoing in the Sandwell region to provide hope and support to the citizens, encouraging them to reach out and find a listening ear whenever they need it.

As part of the grant, PAPYRUS has been commissioned to deliver 28 SP-EAK (Suicide Prevention – Explore, Ask, Keep Safe) sessions and four ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) courses. Having now completed approximately one-third of our SP-EAK training, we have trained over 160 people in suicide prevention skills in Sandwell.

The feedback we received has been incredibly positive and indicates that we are addressing a need within the area. 97% of people felt that the training met their expectations and that they would recommend it to a friend or colleague, with one participant commenting:

“Although we have had other training for suicide, your session highlights facts in a different way, which I found helpful and easy to absorb. Different ways to approach the situation. Thank you. Together, it all helps to keep anyone considering suicide safe.”

Receiving feedback such as this helps to shine a light on the importance of the work PAPYRUS does in the community and reminds us that having these skills in our back pocket could one day help to save a life.

If you work in Sandwell and would be interested in completing suicide prevention training, visit here to view a list of our upcoming sessions and criteria.

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