World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day is on the 10th of September every year.  It provides organisations and communities with the opportunity to come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.

Every member of the Middlewood team is aware of the importance of their role in supporting registered patients at times of significant distress. The last few years have seen a deterioration in the nation’s mental health for a multitude of different reasons. Amongst all the quoted priorities for the NHS improving the mental wellbeing, in the broadest sense, of our local community is right up there. We seek to prioritise mental health issues within our triage systems, we are all trained to assess and manage psychological and psychiatric distress and have recruited specialists in social prescribing and mental health practitioners to support over service.  We have developed collaborations with local schools to support young people with their mental health – they have lived through such a challenging time in the last few years and deserve all the assistance a responsible community can offer.

I am also acutely aware of the responsibility of Middlewood as an organisation, to all its partners and members of staff.  Healthcare workers are human too – the massive strain of the last few years has undoubtedly taken its toll on each and every one of us. Throughout the pandemic, we continued to work tirelessly, contrary to some distasteful media reports.  We currently deal with 33% more requests for medical care than we did back in 2019 and we are offering more appointments than ever before, whilst still managing to deal with the majority of requests on the same day.  We are also increasing the number of specialist services across all sites.  All this is being achieved with no meaningful increase in resources for primary care.  Clinicians, managers and administrative staff have and continue to, repeatedly step up to go above and beyond to meet patients’ needs. However, we are aware of the personal sacrifices every member of our team makes to offer the best care they can.   This is in danger of becoming unsustainable and we are mindful of the important fact that doctors have up to 4 times the suicide rates of members of the general population.  It has emerged recently that the unrelenting pressures of her job were a significant factor in an experienced GP, in the south of England, tragically taking her own life. Those of you who have been in this area for a while will appreciate this event has distressing resonance for myself and many of my colleagues and provides an extremely important reminder of the importance of looking after our mental health.

So, World Suicide Prevention Day is an important landmark this year for many different reasons. We all have a responsibility to each other to help prevent suicides and the devastating impact they have on families, friends and communities.  Much of the time we don’t really know what each of us is going through.  So please consider each other and if in doubt about how to respond to any given situation, please chose kindness.

Thank you.