A major seminar aimed at better equipping frontline responders to deal with self-harm and suicide has been hosted by the Police Commissioner’s team today.
More than 150 ‘first responders’ from Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, the North West Ambulance Service and 20 other community safety organisations attended the event, which was run by Jane Kennedy’s office in conjunction with Impact Training and local suicide support campaigner Jake Mills.
The Self-Harm and Suicide Awareness seminar, held at Merseyside Police Headquarters in Canning Place, aimed to dispel some of the myths around self-harm and suicide and give attendees greater knowledge and skills to deal with this sensitive subject.
Attendees also heard from Anne Cunliffe and John Attwood from the national voluntary organisation SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) who support families who have experienced suicide.
The event also highlighted the support services available for vulnerable people who are affected by these issues here on Merseyside.
Jane said: “People who are in such an emotionally fraught state they are considering killing themselves or have hurt themselves already need and deserve the best possible care.
“This seminar was held to help equip those who are on the frontline, serving people in crisis every day, so they can respond to vulnerable people in the most effective way. That means making sure that an individual is safe and no longer posing a threat to themselves.
“Incidents of self-harm and suicide are not crimes, yet it is very often police officers who are the first to respond. Our police service will never turn its back on anyone, despite the demand it places on the service, but that is why it is so important officers are given the skills and knowledge to be able to provide care and support for people who may be at their lowest ebb.
“I am delighted that representatives from so many other organisations were also able to take advantage of this awareness-raising event today and I hope it will prove informative and beneficial as they also work on the frontline, serving the people of Merseyside.
It is the fourth time the Commissioner’s team have run such an event, with previous seminars being held to raise awareness and understanding of issues surrounding mental ill health, learning disabilities and the condition ADHD.
Local councillors, youth offending staff and professionals from the region’s Community Safety Partnerships, social services, health authorities and Addaction were all among the attendees.
Local suicide support campaigner Jake Mills was pivotal in helping organise the seminar. He said: “I was delighted to be asked to speak at this event. It shows how forward thinking we can be here in Liverpool. Every single person in the world has mental health, which means any one of us can suffer from poor mental health at any time in our lives.
“It is only right that we educate and prepare ourselves on what to do if we, or someone we know, is suffering some form of mental illness.
“To bring so many first responders together today shows that Merseyside is determined to make a difference when it comes to helping those who suffer from mental illness."
Anyone affected by these issues should visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org, a new website created by the PCC to provide support and care for vulnerable people.