Edge Hill suicide prevention work recognised by Health Select Committee

Two mental health projects ran by Edge Hill University and Everton in the Community have been highlighted in a Health Select Committee paper, published today.

The publication ‘Suicide Prevention’ suggests that the Government’s suicide prevention strategy needs greater focus on implementation, and identifies projects including ‘Tackling the Blues’ and ‘Active Blues’ as exemplars of good work in this area.

Tackling the Blues is a sports based programme targeting children and young people who are experiencing, or are at risk of developing, mental illness and Active Blues, which is funded by Sport England, helps inactive men aged 35–50 to become active and improve their mental wellbeing. Drawing upon research conducted as part of Tackling the Blues at Edge Hill University, Professor Andy Smith told the Committee about the benefits of focusing on a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing and developing a culture where mental health is a priority.

Andy Smith

Andy Smith

Professor Andy Smith said: “It was an honour to be invited to speak to the Health Select Committee, as part of its national enquiry on suicide prevention, to discuss our collaborative sports-based mental health research with Everton in the Community. To have our partnership work recognised by the Committee as a model of good practice, and an example of how to practically implement aspects of the government’s national suicide prevention strategy, is especially pleasing.

It is further testimony to our longstanding commitment towards adopting a collaborative, impact-focused, approach to research and community working which is of real benefit to the lives of others.”

Michael Salla, Director of Health at Everton in the Community, added: “We are delighted to be able to support such an important strategy and to be able to offer our input and guidance via our two named projects and our academic partnership. Our programmes have made a real contribution to our local communities and it is an honour that this has been recognised at such a level as the Health Select Committee.”

Chair of the Health Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said: “If the Government wishes to be truly ambitious in reducing the toll of suicide, there are many further steps which it could take, which we have set out in this report. The Government must prioritise effective implementation of its strategy because without it, any strategy is of very limited value.”