Every day of the year, our staff across England do fantastic work supporting people through crises and helping to prevent suicides. In the words of the Zero Suicide Alliance, ‘one life lost is one too many,’ but we are proud of the positive and life-saving impact we have on so many people.

In just the last 10 months, since it launched last year, the team running our crisis service  The Haven @ 30 Clarence Street in York have been told by eight people that the support we gave them helped them to overcome their suicidal feelings. This is just the number that we know for certain – every day, the support we provide to people at The Haven helps them to stay well, cope with mental ill-health and feel hopeful.

Our staff regularly work with people who are unwell to put preventative plans in place. They sit with them and talk about what they can do next time they are struggling to cope: distraction techniques, triggers to avoid, lists to help them focus on positives and hopeful things rather than negative thoughts. Sometimes the people who come to The Haven start by just taking things a day at a time; our staff help them set achievable, seemingly small goals (though we know that mental health problems can make even small tasks seem overwhelming). They check in with them daily, and over time help them to cope better on their own, safe in the knowledge that if they do experience a crisis or are in distress they can come back and be supported through it.

The staff on our Support Matters helpline also work day in, day out supporting people to get through the most difficult times of their life. Last year the team ‘de-escalated’ nearly 3000 crisis calls – this means a call where someone was in severe distress, often suicidal, in which the helpline staff members were able to help the caller through their situation and achieve a positive outcome.

Although our staff are a highly-trained and dedicated team with a lot of knowledge about mental health, we can all help to prevent suicide – you don’t need to be a specialist. The Zero Suicide Alliance has produced this free, short online training which will help anyone know how to identify and support someone who may be suicidal. Take just 20 minutes today to look through it – you could save a life.