Suicide prevention is a priority for Hertfordshire County Council

Hundreds of professionals with an interest in suicide prevention attended Hertfordshire's Suicide Prevention Network event on Friday, January 31

The second anniversary of the Journalist’s Charter for the Sensitive Reporting of Suicide was highlighted at the event, which was opened by the council's cabinet member for public health and prevention, cllr Tim Hutchings.

L-R: Tim Hutchings, cabinet member for Public Health and Prevention; Amandip Sidhu, founder of Doctors in Distress; Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director Research & Influencing Samaritans; Michelle Karpus, lived experience representative from HPFT NHS; and Jim McManus, director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council

L-R: Tim Hutchings, cabinet member for Public Health and Prevention; Amandip Sidhu, founder of Doctors in Distress; Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director Research & Influencing Samaritans; Michelle Karpus, lived experience representative from HPFT NHS; and Jim McManus, director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council

The network event also recognised the positive role digital media can play by providing crisis support, reaching out to people who may be isolated from their community, providing therapy and giving information about sources of support and advice. A joint Social Media Charter is now in place alongside the Journalist’s Charter.

Cllr Tim Hutchings said: “Suicide Prevention is a key priority for us and this is a great opportunity to reflect on the work achieved since our Suicide Prevention Strategy was produced three years ago, and build on it for our 2020-25 strategy.

“The death of someone by suicide can have a devastating effect on families, friends, colleagues, first responders, staff, the wider community and beyond.

"Positive media coverage such as reports of people overcoming experiences of suicidal thoughts, may be associated with preventing suicide and we are very grateful to the brave people who have the courage to speak out.”

Almost all local media are signed up to the Charter.

Cllr Hutchings added: “Hertfordshire has a strong partnership approach to preventing suicide and this dedication is highlighted by the number of people attending this event today.

“We appreciate the support of everyone involved, including our local media, for helping us take a united stand.”

For more information about the Suicide Prevention Network visit: www.suicidepreventionherts.org.uk.