Publish date: 9 September 2021

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, the Trust is hosting its first bespoke suicide awareness training for staff.

The training will be facilitated by Dr Sarwat Nauroze (Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for acute and community mental health in Ealing) and Beverley [Bev] Edwards-Metcalfe (Deputy Clinical Lead, Hounslow IAPT), who have a combined 37 years’ experience of working with patients with severe mental illness.

Bev was inspired to become a mental health professional while working in the prisons service. She was alerted to the range of mental health issues prisoners faced and wanted to learn more about what and how they were feeling. She completed a Psychology degree, embarked on her NHS career and has now worked at the Trust for nine years.

Bev explains: “I think it’s really important to know how to speak to people and just be human. Sometimes we’re so good at completing a risk assessment, we forget we’re dealing with other humans.”

For Sarwat, having been at the Trust for 20 years, starting as a trainee psychiatrist, he’s seen many patients in urgent need of help.

“I have worked closely with people who are suicidal and sadly over the years have experienced the tragic loss of those I knew well. I know the impact of loss and how traumatic it can be for loved ones and staff,” he said. “I want this training to enable staff to focus on the importance of working collaboratively with the person experiencing suicidal thoughts.”

When asked for a single piece of advice on what to do if someone is thinking about ending their life, both Bev and Sarwat summarised it in one word – ‘talk’.

“Talk to someone, anyone. Suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem so just talk to someone before you take any action,” Bev adds.

“When you come across someone in crisis, a simple ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ can help. Talking about suicide with people who are feeling suicidal does not increase their risk of suicide; it helps in that they feel they’re being listened to, and they can then be signposted to the services they need.”

Read how the Trust plan to help lower the rate of suicide in North West London.

Read Natasha's story, about the support she received after attempting suicide, and how she's using her experiences to empower others.