Carers urged to help mental health nurses find ways to prevent suicides

PUBLISHED: 14:00 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:26 27 January 2018

Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Time to change/Newscast Online

It is one of the hardest things a carer has to face - how to help someone who is regrettably considering taking their own life.

Howard Tidman. Photo: NSFTHoward Tidman. Photo: NSFT

But now, the region’s mental health trust is to team up with a carers’ organisation to help find the best ways of supporting people through the most difficult period in their lives.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and support service Carers Matter Norfolk have joined forces to hold a suicide prevention workshop.

It will run alongside a conference organised by charity Feedback Mental Health at Lowestoft Community Church, which will feature inspiring talks from campaigners about their own recovery stories.

The aim is to hear directly from carers about the issues they face when trying to seek support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Picture: Time to change/Newscast OnlinePicture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Howard Tidman, an NSFT charge nurse who works in Great Yarmouth, said the mental health difficulties that lead to suicide are “horrendous”.

It is even more so because many people who take their own lives “never get in touch with mental health services”, he said.

He added: “There’s a higher prevalence in suicide in certain demographics in society.

“Especially if you’re older, it makes you more at risk. I suspect as you get older, we lose some of our closer friends that are with us and there’s no-one to ring up who understands. You become isolated.

“Many men can be bad at showing their emotions and talking to people about how they feel.”

He added that the prevalence of suicide in Norfolk and Waveney “is possibly a little higher because of the rural nature of the area. People live in little villages and can become isolated”.

Mr Tidman added: “The reason we’re holding the workshop is to find out how best we can support carers when the people they are with are suicidal.

“It’s about finding out from them what they want when they ring up for help.

“Rather than us being prescriptive, it’s about asking them what they would find to be useful so we can find a common theme to reduce risk.”

The event on Saturday, February 3 at the Involve Centre, in Pinbush Close, Lowestoft, will start with a talk by Liz Howlett - from the NSFT - on the prevalence of suicide in modern society.

After a discussion, there will also be a session called “dare to share” to discuss the when best to share sensitive information.

The day will end with Simon Brown, from FamilyCarersNet, giving a talk encouraging carers to realise the importance of looking after themselves, as well as their loved ones.

“We’re going to hope to pilot something in Lowestoft and Yarmouth from this and then hopefully pilot it throughout the whole trust,” Mr Tidman said.

“This is really important to the trust and important to society.”

The event will run from 11.30am until 3pm. To book a place, visit

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