Tackling Stigma saves Lives

Alys Cole-King
September 26 2013

Research shows that people in distress, in vital need of support, do not seek life saving help because of  the stigma of mental illness and suicidal thoughts.  As a society we can decide whether to stigmatise something or not.  We can also choose NOT to stigmatise something that kills three times as many people in the UK as road traffic accidents.  Often stigma comes from fear and lack of understanding.  Connecting with People are committed to tackling stigma and helping large organisations with mental health training and awareness.  We’ve pulled some information together that summerises some of what we do.  Do feel free to share this information amongst your contacts or on your website.  Please contact us directly via the website.  Perhaps you could link to our new 3 min film called ‘Breaking down the stigma of suicide’ which features a snippet of the Connecting with People Suicide Awareness training.

Connecting with People
Connecting with People (CwP) is a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.  It provides free on-line self-help resources and offers a range of training in building emotional resilience, mental health awareness and suicide mitigation.  It undertakes promotional activity to tackle stigma around mental health.

Core CwP themes
Connecting with People promotes a role for all in suicide prevention and supporting emotional well-being.  It aims to ensure that everyone trained is able to make well-informed interventions within their level of expertise and competence.   Professionals are trained to be aware of patient safety in relation to suicide prevention. Central to the whole approach and ethos is the importance of compassion and collaboration.  We have a dedicated module, Compassionate Care and compassion also forms an important learning objective across the whole programme.

CwP Training
The CwP training is modular and is designed to be delivered across large organisations as well as to small groups.  There is an option to develop in-house training teams for low ongoing cost.  We have collaborated with the Royal Colleges, Universities and subject experts including people with lived experience.  CwP training is evidence-based, fully evaluated and it is published and peer reviewed.  The research base and evidence underpinning the Connecting with People training is outlined on our website: http://www.connectingwithpeople.org

CwP Workplace Training
CwP Workplace Health & Wellbeing training programmes are between 1 and 2 hours in duration to minimise the disruption to the business operation and specifically developed for people working in a high pressure environment. They were developed with our sister organisation, Stand to Reason. They have significantly increased awareness about mental health issues and provided managers with the knowledge to identify early warning signs of stress, anxiety and depression.  At Legal and General our programmes demonstrated a sickness absence reduction of 15% after adjustment for seasonal variation. Productivity increased by 13.8%.

Free online Self-help RCPsych resources
Connecting with People have developed a range of practical and compassionate self-help resources with their collaborators on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists - available to anyone in need of advice and support. They promote appropriate self-help and inform people regarding useful strategies, how to create a ‘safety plan’ and how they can access help and support. They are endorsed by the Royal College of General Practioner’s, College Emergency Medicine, CALL and Samaritans.