Prior to lock down I had been involved training local volunteers in skills to recognize those at risk of suicide and self-harm in an area of deprivation and high suicide rates. I believe that the potential is there to train people at local level and advertise it in the same way as “Neighbourhood Watch” schemes operate.
Local posters small stickers in windows and a sense to get the community talking openly about the subject. The volunteers are not trained as therapists but given basic skills in recognizing the vocabulary of those in distress and responding in “safe talk ” and confidence. I as a professional and accredited Psychotherapist would be willing to volunteer my time as I know others would. Local people would know who they could talk too safely and confidentially as each trained volunteer would have been vetted and approved by authorities. Such as scheme would generate community well being and bring mental health issues out into the dialogue of communities. It would help alleviate pressure on Mental Health Practitioners by early intervention and i know from experience it would save lives. It is a simple solution and not a panacea .It is also an educational tool for self help in relation to mental health and gives communities the opportunity to help each other in a sense of pride and achievement. Such a scheme could work in conjunction with statutory agencies just as” Neighbouhood Watch” works with the police