In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty talks about World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day

This is observed on 10 September. This year it is more important than ever: clinical leaders recognise that the pandemic has placed even more strain on mental health services. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has said that their members are seeing an alarming rise in patients needing urgent and emergency care and they forecast what they call a 'tsunami' of mental illness.

This is a view supported by the World Health Organisation which has issued specific warnings about the possible effects of COVID-19 on suicidal behaviours. It says that mental health consequences are likely to be present for longer and peak later than the actual pandemic. Adding to that, suicide is likely to become a more pressing concern, as the pandemic spreads and has longer-term effects on the general population, the economy and vulnerable groups.

Every single death by suicide is a catastrophe that devastates families, friends, colleagues and communities. The latest Office for National Statistics data indicates the highest rates of death by suicide for two decades for males and a significant rise for females aged 10 to 24. These figures graphically demonstrate that suicide prevention is an issue for all of us. 

As a member of Mersey Care or as a friend of our Trust family, be aware that the Zero Suicide Alliance has made 10 September to 10 October a month of mental health awareness. I will be presenting detailed plans to NHS Providers and others about what we are doing, and what we can all do. Have you taken the training?

I'd also like to congratulate our Respect and Civility team, whose work as part of our Just and Learning Culture was highly commended at the Health Service Journal Awards on Friday afternoon.

Joe Rafferty CBE

Chief Executive