World Suicide Prevention Day

Embargoed until 00:01am on Thursday, 10 September, 2015

Joint Press Release

Champs Public Health Collaborative and Mersey Care NHS Trust


A joint approach to eliminate suicide in Cheshire and Merseyside has today (10 September) been launched by two health organisations at a suicide prevention event in Warrington.


Taking place on World Suicide Prevention Day, Champs Public Health Collaborative and Mersey Care NHS Trust have joined forces in a bold vision to try and eliminate suicide within the region.


The two initiatives will be launched at the Cheshire and Merseyside “NO MORE” - Suicide Prevention event, which will inform healthcare and other agency stakeholders at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.


The event will include several notable speakers including Professor Louis Appleby, the Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester and Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group with the Department of Health, Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director at Mersey Care NHS Trust, Dr Rita Robertson, Director of Public Health at Warrington Council, and Angela Samata, presenter of BBC documentary ‘Life After Suicide’ and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group – Suicide and Self Harm Prevention.


Professor Appleby said:  “When I started in suicide research 25 years ago there was a widespread view that suicide was often inevitable, that it could be postponed but not prevented, that clinical services had little to offer against what was essentially a social phenomenon.


“Joint initiatives like this one between Champs Public Health Collaborative and Mersey Care NHS Trust show that view has changed. There is a strong sense now that the stigma of suicide can be overcome, that people can get through a suicidal crisis and that frontline staff have the skills to make a difference.”


Mersey Care were among the first Trusts in the country to publicly commit to a programme to eliminate suicide within their care following a Government Mental Health Conference last January, which called on all Trusts to commit to a new ambition for ‘zero suicide.’


Their plan for eliminating suicide by people in their care is part of their model for Perfect Care and comprises four priority areas:


  • Service user and partner engagement: ensure individuals and communities that use our service are part of the design, implementation and evaluation processes
  • Safe and effective care and treatment: ensure the care and services provided are effective in preventing suicide
  • Competent workforce: ensure all staff within Mersey Care have the knowledge and skills appropriate for their level and role to prevent suicide
  • Research and evaluation: ensure our approach to suicide prevention is underpinned by current research and development.


Dr Fearnley wants to ensure that those experiencing suicidal thoughts receive the degree of urgent care and resources as someone would receive if they entered hospital for another type of physical complaint.

“When people have a very serious physical injury, or life-threatening condition, for example they have a chest pain or a suspected stroke, hospitals put all they can in place to make them better,” he said.

"We think suicidal thoughts deserve the same respect, the same intensity of care, the same research and innovation. That’s our ambition and we think we can deliver that.

“There is still plenty of work to do to stop the stigma but it is only by aiming to eliminate suicide in society and in our care that we will stand any chance of succeeding.”


The vision for Cheshire and Merseyside is to establish it as a region where suicide is eliminated, which supports people at a time of personal crisis and builds individual and community resilience for improved lives.


As part of that initiative, Champs Public Health Collaborative is launching its new Cheshire & Merseyside wide zero suicide strategy. Driven by the Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Reduction Partnership Board, Network and partners, the new “NO MORE” zero suicide strategy and action plan sets out in more detail the national and local picture and key drivers for action.


The strategy intends to


  • achieve a suicide safer community across Cheshire and Merseyside
  • establish effective primary care, mental health and crisis services
  • support those who are bereaved by suicide.


Dr Robertson explained: “The vision for Cheshire and Merseyside is to achieve a region where suicide is eliminated. Creating a momentum for large scale change is the key and we want those within our communities who are struggling to not consider suicide as a solution to the difficulties they face.


“Our plans are ambitious but we believe if service providers, individuals, communities and society as a whole work together more effectively to improve mental health, it will help prevent suicides and address what is currently a major social and public health issue. “


The NO MORE zero suicide strategy will be available online from 10 September at


Notes for media: You are invited to a post event briefing at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Winwick Road, Warrington, WA2 7NE between 1.00pm and 2.00pm on 10 September, 2015


Further information and interview requests, please contact: Myles Hodgson, Media Officer, Mersey Care NHS Trust on 0151 473 2797 or email or Suzanne McGuckin, Communications Officer, Champs Public Health Collaborative, on 0151 666 5123 or 07909 114782, email or



Editor’s notes:

Champs Public Health Collaborative

Led by the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health, Champs Public Health Collaborative is an outcome focussed model working across the nine Local Authorities in Cheshire & Merseyside. Champs enables resources to be shared and public health initiatives to be delivered across a larger area, improving local health outcomes for its population of 2.4 million people. Champs delivers a number of priorities in partnership with Public Health England North West and NHS England Cheshire & Merseyside. The Champs support team lead, facilitate and enable the delivery of the priorities with local public health teams and partners. Champs is responsible for enabling system leadership, collaborative commissioning, sector led improvement, finance, CPD/events and communications, mental wellbeing and public health intelligence. More information at  


Mersey Care NHS Trust

Mersey Care NHS Trust provides specialist mental health services in North West England and beyond. We are passionate about mental health and wellbeing and delivering the best possible services for the people we serve. Our vision is to become the leading organisation in the provision of mental health care, addiction services and learning disability care. We provide specialist inpatient and community mental health, learning disabilities, addiction management and acquired brain injury services for the people of Liverpool, Sefton and Kirkby, Merseyside. We also provide secure mental health services for the North West of England, the West Midlands and Wales and are one of only three trusts in the country to provide these services. More information at