From Cornwall Council’s press release

Twelve projects have been successful in securing grant money from the suicide prevention innovation fund for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 

In the summer, a multi-agency group working with NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council’s public health team who are focused on reducing the number of suicides across our communities, offered the opportunity to use some funding from NHS England to community organisations. The criteria for bidding projects was that they had particular focus on reducing suicide by middle aged men, by people in treatment services, harder to reach groups and reduce self-harm within local communities. These are the areas where we tend to see the highest numbers of people in need and often where people are most vulnerable and in some cases likely to end their lives early.  

The projects ranged from support for fathers who have been widowed, support for people with long term conditions which impact on mental health, support for young fathers who may have had traumatic childhoods, and support of farmers and fishermen as these are occupations where we see a high risk of suicide. 

Councillor Sally Hawken, Cabinet member for wellbeing and public health said: “This funding will save lives. It’s that simple. Cornwall has a variety of factors that add additional pressure to the mental health of our residents. By providing these innovative community solutions we hope to avoid many people getting to crisis point, where they feel there is no other option.” 

Tim Francis, head of adult mental health and learning disabilities strategic commissioning from NHS Kernow, added:  “Any death by suicide is one too many and now more than ever we need to be able to provide fresh and creative ways to provide advice and support. I am delighted that the twelve projects have secured the grant money to continue their excellent work, helping prevent people reach crisis point.” 

Brief descriptions of the winners: 

  • Man Down: To reduce Suicides in Cornwall through helping adult men to talk about their struggles in a safe, non-judgmental environment at fortnightly meetings that are accessible, require no booking and are completely confidential. Up until the pandemic these were monthly, but will now increase to two to three per month. [See more details of the Man Down projects on our website today, here]
  • Seafit Fishermen’s Project: Mental health and wellbeing of commercial fishermen, led by Fairwinds Mental Health Practitioner, experienced in delivering mental health support for fishermen and their families living in Cornish ports. Fishermen are a high risk population of men, with a focus on those who are middle aged or older. 
  • Farming Community Project: Mental health service to the Cornish farming community that includes engagement with the community. 1-1 sessions using a robust evidenced based assessment, risk assessment, safety planning and treatment using CBT and solution focussed therapy techniques. Outdoor walking therapy, meaning farmers can access therapy on their farmland through an outreach style.  
  • Penhaligon’s Friends: Dads Packs; a resource pack for widowed dads who have come for support for their children. Family Fun Day; Family Fun events with a focus on what Dads may potentially feel more confident to engage in – e.g. golf day, moorland walk, bowling. 
  • Men Outside, Chaos Group: Co-produced project aimed at men who are experiencing isolation and loneliness with the main focus being to prevent suicide and reduce the risk of self-harm.  Social connection, company and camaraderie while taking part in activities such as den building, bushcraft and simply sitting around a fire pit immersed in nature. 
  • Pathfinder Programme: Outdoor Learning programme covering all aspects of survival and wilderness experiences from; Shelter Building, Fire lighting, Foraging, Navigation, Mental and Physical resilience, Nordic Walking and much more. Also to offer the programme as days on the moors and overnight camping.  Accessible to all abilities and ages from Primary school aged children to retired persons.
  • Towards Zero with Young Fathers, Wild Young Parents: Monthly staff training on mental ill health in young fathers, the impact of childhood trauma on mental health, suicide and self-harming behaviours. Actively identify individuals’ protective factors and working to reduce risk factors through: workshops with a specific suicide and self-harm focus, strategies for reducing self-harming behaviours and group sharing of healthy coping ideas.
  • Engineered Sound Project: Echo Point Using sound to help break up negative thought patterns and through community settings help to start the conversation, bringing people, organisations and communities together.
  • Make it Better: Smartphone photography meet ups are a great way to explore the 5 ways to wellbeing. Four projects in different areas of the county, introducing people vulnerable to self-harm and suicide to smartphone photography, develop their knowing and understanding with a highly skilled and experienced practitioner.
  • HOPE Programme, Volunteer Cornwall: HOPE is a six-week programme to help people build confidence to self-manage their long-term health conditions that may lead to thoughts of suicide. This could include; physical health such as pain relief, mental ill health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression, people returning to work after a long absence, and parents/carers of children with additional or complex needs.
  • Valued Lives: Mobile van crisis service to navigate narrow roadways which our lorry cannot and provide a local outreach to support people to access our face to face groups and services. Takes mental health support into the heart of communities, improving accessibility and breaking down barriers and discrimination. It provides a flexible approach to targeting hotspots and hard to reach groups. 
  • Live West: In-house suicide and self-harm awareness, training workshops and discussion groups for vulnerable groups of residents and customers of support projects in Cornwall.