Following on from the agreement of a suicide prevention consensus statement earlier this year, the toolkit is the first step in the guidance being made available to forces to help manage impact and provide support around this complex and sensitive subject.
In addition to this, Oscar Kilo will be providing training for senior leaders to help familiarise them with the toolkit and will reference it in the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework to assist with embedding this as an approach across the service.
Andy Rhodes, Service Director for the National Police Wellbeing Service said;
Everything we do to support our people’s mental health contributes in some way to reducing suicide, but we recognise there are specific improvements we need to make to raise awareness and reduce stigma. And when the worst does happen, sensitively manage the aftermath of a colleague’s suicide.
We have worked alongside colleagues from the ambulance service and Samaritans to develop this toolkit and ensure we have the best expertise available.
Most importantly, we have taken the time to listen to the voices of colleagues with lived experience of suicide and we thank them for their willingness to re-visit their thoughts, feelings and emotions in the pursuit of helping us to learn.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh, CEO of the College of Policing said;
I am personally committed to this because I have first-hand experience of how difficult it can feel when we lose someone close to us.
We recognise the enthusiasm and commitment of the police officers, police staff, researchers and subject matter experts who for many years have been working hard to highlight the importance of suicide as an issue for us to prioritise.
This toolkit will only be effective if it is put into action, and we will play our role in helping to embed it across the service.
The toolkit may also be adapted to support staff who lose a family member or close friend outside the force to suicide and is available for people to access directly from the Oscar Kilo website.
To support today’s launch, a webinar is being held for those working in policing to understand more about this area and the support the toolkit can provide.
Led by NPWS Service Director, Andy Rhodes and Jacqui Morrisey, Assistant Director, Researching and Influencing for Samaritans, the session will set the scene for the development of this work, touch upon the suicide consensus statement that was agreed earlier this year, and how the toolkit will help focus leaders and provide support.
Julie Bentley, CEO of Samaritans said;
We understand the challenges faced by police every day, often dealing with traumatic events and people in distress. It is easy to forget that, sometimes, you might need support yourselves.
Each time we go into workplaces we hear the same thing: ‘We wish we had known more. Suicide and suicidal feelings need to be discussed more, and more openly, so that people know they will be taken seriously and that they can reach out for support. And, if the worst happens, we need to be more prepared.’
This toolkit is part of that support, and we are proud to have worked with the team at Oscar Kilo and the College of Policing to develop this toolkit.