The University of Worcester 'Suicide Safer Project' launched a HE Student Suicide Prevention Community of Practice (CoP) hosted at University of Worcester Arena last Thursday September 26th 2019. A CoP acts as a knowledge exchange and development hub bringing together people with a shared interest in preventing student suicide to provide an opportunity to learn together and from each other. Its aims are to develop and support practice, showcase and drive innovation and address sector challenges through collaboration. The CoP is designed to encourage participants to connect, seek support and advice, learn from each other and share best practice, as well as hearing about training, research, policy and practice developments to help grow suicide prevention practice development across HE institutions.
This launch CoP event at University of Worcester offered a 'deep dive' host site visit to hear about the University of Worcester 'Suicide Safer Project' (more on this in the booklet below this blog post) followed by the opportunity to join two out of four facilitated discussion groups to share and learn from each other in relation to student suicide prevention initiatives in HE institutions elsewhere focussing on campaigning and awareness raising, education and training, support for students and support for staff. Each discussion table was facilitated by members of the University of Worcester Suicide Safer Project Team.
Sixty people from over 50 HEIS across the UK attended this launch CoP event. Participants shared practice developments, information, useful resources and organisations as well as problem solving issues that individuals were facing implementing suicide prevention initiatives. Feedback from attendees was very positive about the value of a joint sharing and learning opportunity. The comments from one of the CoP participants, who emailed following the event, summarises the intended purpose and outcomes of a CoP:
"...the launch of the HE Student Suicide Prevention Community of Practice - was a wonderful and potentially powerful event and I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this purposive community of experts as we begin the journey of sharing, learning, developing and improving the way we do things."
'Pledges' from participants to share information and resources as well as 'take aways' that participants were taking from the event were recorded to produce a summary from this launch CoP event. It is hoped this CoP may be the impetus for further CoP events at other HEIs to continue the collaboration and sharing across HEIs as institutions strive to prevent student suicide.
Prof Jo Smith, Suicide Safer Project Lead, University of Worcester
We are using this blog to help connect stakeholders across Higher Education interested in student mental health. If you have a project you are working on or an idea you'd like to develop, why not write your own blog post for us?