This week is Mental Health Awareness Week! Running from 18-24 May, this year’s theme is kindness and Time To Change York has an action packed week planned, follow them on twitter @TtcYork and take a look at their new YouTube channel. Below we meet Andy Chapman who is leading on a piece of work to help make York a Suicide Safer Community.

Helping make York a Suicide Safer Community

Andy Chapman is City of York Council’s (CYC) Suicide Prevention Officer and is leading on work to make York a Suicide Safer Community. This is a concept devised by The Living Works Foundation Canada, which promotes a whole community approach to prevention through training, closer partnership working and more open, informed and supportive conversations about suicide.

One of the greatest challenges we face in preventing suicide is stigma and lack of understanding – we can literally save lives by changing our attitudes and building a society where people are more willing to talk about suicide thereby encouraging those who are at risk to seek help when they need it.

Free online training:

Over the last four years in York CYC has been delivering fully funded Living Works Suicide Prevention training to the City’s workforce and community members. Many people have attended a half-day early alert ‘safeTALK’ workshop or a two-day intervention workshop called ASIST- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training. These workshops are open to anyone, the idea being that any one of us, regardless of our role, can encounter someone professionally or in our home or social life who is contemplating suicide and we need skills to be able to help them.

Face to face training is not currently available due to the current situation however, a great introduction to suicide prevention training is the free online package from the Zero Suicide Alliance. This training features in the regional Humber, Coast and Vale ‘Talk Suicide’ Campaign which is encouraging as many people as possible to take the training.

Access the free online training:

This training is suitable for anyone over the age of 15 including those who have been bereaved by suicide, have had their own thoughts of suicide, have been touched in another way. It’s also suitable for people who have had no connection with the subject and who may be curious, wondering how they might help others who they encounter.

We encourage everyone to undertake this training – it takes between 30 and 40 minutes. Once you’ve completed it you may wish to get further involved in developing York as a Suicide Safer Community and attend safeTALK or ASIST training when face-to-face training is and available. Your support would be very welcome.

Andy Chapman –