- More than 360,000 Londoners have accessed suicide prevention training since the launch of the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign in 2019 by the Mayor of London.
- The campaign is helping Londoners to support Londoners, by becoming better prepared to identify warning signs and to feel comfortable having conversations about suicide and mental health.
- On World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, Thrive LDN is encouraging the campaign to go even further given the challenges posed by increased cost-of-living pressures for many Londoners.
More than 360,000 people across the capital have completed free, suicide prevention training as part of the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign.
Launched by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan in September 2019, with support from the NHS in London, the citywide #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign aims to encourage Londoners to access free, online suicide prevention training.
Developed by the Zero Suicide Alliance, the free, online training takes around 20 minutes to complete and is designed to show how to have a direct and honest conversation about suicide and mental health with friends and family.
The training helps to break the stigma of talking about mental health, suicidal thoughts and bereavement. The approach follows research that shows talking honestly and openly about suicide has helped to save lives. The training also includes specific training modules on student mental health, veterans, and supporting taxi drivers and those working in the nighttime economy.
Four years on since launching the first iteration of the training, the Zero Suicide Alliance see an impressive number of people completing the training each month, signalling a continuation to the increase in community spirit which was seen during the pandemic .
Thrive LDN, who manage the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign as the regional lead for suicide prevention in London, say there is a clear appetite amongst Londoners to learn how to become better prepared to identify warning signs, to feel more comfortable having conversations about suicide and mental health, and to learn how best to look out for each other.
This aligns to thousands of Londoners pledging to become champions for positive wellbeing where they are empowered to act to improve their own and their communities’ wellbeing.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“I’m proud to be among the more than 350,000 people who have completed the #ZeroSuicideLDN Suicide prevention training. One life lost to suicide is one too many, and this training is helping Londoners to support others and break down the stigma around talking about mental health. We all have a role to play in preventing such tragedies and together we can help one another and improve mental health across the capital as we build a better London for everyone.”
Martin Machray RN, Lead on Mental Health and Executive Director of Performance for the NHS in London said:
“It is such positive news for London that so many people across the capital now have the skills and confidence needed to better identify warning signs and feel comfortable having conversations about suicide and mental health with friends and family.
The NHS in London fully supports the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign to go even further, encouraging even more Londoners to take the training and support people to seek help when it is needed.
The reasons why someone might choose to end their life are complex. All Londoners, at all stages of their life, deserve the chance to feel well, think clearly and live with a sense of purpose and enjoyment. With all of London working together, we can look out for one another, spot the signs and be prepared to save a life.”
Commenting on support given to the training from London partners, a spokesperson for the Zero Suicide Alliance, said:
“The alliance is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting free suicide prevention training which is accessible to all. Everyone, everywhere, in every part of our communities can take action.
I’m delighted the alliance’s partnership with the Mayor of London, the NHS in London and Thrive LDN has meant that so many Londoners have learnt how to best spot the signs that any of our friends, colleagues or loved ones may be in crisis, and now have the skills and confidence to support them seek help.”
Impact of cost-of-living pressures
Marking World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, campaign organisers are highlighting how ‘it is now more important than ever’ to encourage many more Londoners to play their part in looking out for other Londoners, especially given the challenges posed by increased cost-of-living pressures for many.
Debt, unemployment, and financial instability act as some of the main barriers to emotional wellbeing. Due to the extreme challenges posed by the increases to the cost-of-living more Londoners will be considered vulnerable to suicide.
Earlier this year, Samaritans reported a rising number of calls from those whose mental health is being affected by financial concerns. With callers most concerned about losing their jobs, accessing support services, and being unable to provide for their families. A recent client report from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) highlighted that one in two clients have considered or attempted suicide before seeking help. Namely due to rates of priority debt increasing and more people struggled to pay household bills last winter.
Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Borough Council and Thrive LDN co-lead, said:
“Through the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign, we have helped more than 350,000 Londoners know that there is nothing to be feared in talking about suicide and mental health. By doing so, we are working towards a city that is stigma free, where people are supported to talk openly about suicide and suicide bereavement, which is more important than ever.
However, we can’t afford to be complacent. Many Londoners continue to face a challenging and uncertain time. It is clear that the challenges posed by the cost-of-living crisis are being felt unevenly across London, exposing differences of vulnerability across geographies and social groups.
We must continue to be innovative and work together in our approach to suicide prevention in London. It is only through continued efforts to support whole communities to come together and address the causes of poor mental health that we can meet our shared aspiration of making the capital a ‘zero suicide’ city.”
#ZeroSuicideLDN in action
In west London, the London boroughs of Hounslow, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Ealing, in partnership with West London NHS Trust, are marking World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 by sharing the campaign and encouraging those living and working locally to take the training. Each borough has created localised campaign posters, including translated versions to reach as many Londoners and communities as possible.
In Hounslow, those who have completed the training have been encouraged to share a photograph holding a pledge poster that reads ‘I’ve taken the training: #ZeroSuicideLDN’. Support for the campaign has come from across the council, including Council Leader, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat. As well as community partners, such as Brentford FC Community Sports Trust who have backed the campaign and have been actively promoting it through their established local networks.
Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Transformation, Cllr Samia Chaudhary, said:
“World Suicide Prevention Day is an important opportunity to encourage Londoners to access the Zero Suicide Alliance’s free training and work together across the West London area to break the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health.
The training takes around 20 minutes to complete and is designed to help people to identify warning signs and to feel comfortable having conversations about suicide with friends and family.
We know our communities are full of amazing people who want to look out for others and residents and organisations have responded very positively to the training and local engagement to encourage participation.”
Elsewhere, the campaign is being promoted by Charlotte Robinson, artist and founder of #ChooseToStay campaign and Minus Cloud Nine, through the use of thought provoking illustrations at busy London Underground stations. Charlotte’s illustrations have been installed to encourage Londoners to pause, remember that they are not alone and signpost to available help, including the training from Zero Suicide Alliance.
“Conversations save lives. The more people that talk about mental health and suicide, the more potential there is for lives to be saved. I know this from my own experience and how important it was for me to have my feelings validated and acknowledged. I know how powerful this is when instigating conversations around mental health to others and seeing their reactions on feeling heard, it’s a cycle we all need to work on to break the stigma.
With the poster campaign, I wanted to bring art to the busy city of London to encourage people to stop, take a deep breath, practice gratitude, or even take a snap to send to someone it reminded them of. I’m so proud that my illustrations and these important messages of hope are displayed across London and have played a part in promoting free, suicide prevention training.”
The success of the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign is also being attributed to the collective support given to it by London partners including London Councils, London’s police forces, Transport for London, and other emergency services, such as London Fire Brigade and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, alongside voluntary and community groups, and many others.
To find out more about these resources and the suicide prevention training, visit www.thriveldn.co.uk/zerosuicideldn.
For more information, please contact Thrive LDN communications lead, James Ludley: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8148 5123.
 An Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey in April 2020 noted a “steady increase in community spirit”: nearly two in three adults (62.6%) had checked in on neighbours who might need help at least once in the last seven days (up from 53.8% previous week) and over a third (37.5%) had gone shopping or done other tasks for neighbours (up from 27.7% the previous week). Almost two in three (64.1%) thought other community members would support them if they needed help and more than three quarters (77.9%) thought people were doing more to help others.
Notes to Editors
- As of the 31 August 2023, a total of 360,028 Londoners had completed the free, online training via www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training.
- Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Borough Council and Thrive LDN co-lead, is also London Councils’ Thrive LDN lead. London Councils is a cross-party organisation representing all 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation.
In London, around 10 people take their own life each week. This number has decreased since the launch of the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign when it was more than 12 people each week. This is a small but positive step in the right direction and moves us closer to our ambition of being a ‘zero suicide’ city.
Nationally, rates of suicide remain high, with 5,583 people in England and Wales taking their own lives in 2021, equivalent to a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people. While this was statistically significantly higher than the 2020 rate of 10.0 deaths per 100,000 people, it was consistent with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rates in 2019 and 2018.
Office for National Statistics (2022) Suicides in the UK: 2021 registrations: Suicides in England and Wales – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
- The online ZSA Suicide Awareness Training takes around 20 minutes to complete.
- It’s a simple but effective training video, with no test/quiz-based questions, that combines facts about suicide with stories of real people who have experienced the impact of it on their lives. It follows different scenarios featuring a range of ages, ethnicities and potential suicidal issues.
- It provides advice on how to speak to someone with suicidal thoughts, and real-life scenarios give viewers the confidence to deal with difficult conversations with loved ones, friends or colleagues.
- The approach follows research that shows talking honestly and openly about suicide has helped to save lives.
The ZSA has expanded the range of resources of practical innovations taking place in local communities and services to reduce the underlying causes that can trigger suicide risks. The ZSA has done a special ‘crisis services deep dive analysis’ and are working with systems to implement crisis response improvements.
For more information about the ZSA, contact the media team at: email@example.com.
Thrive LDN is a citywide public mental health partnership to ensure all Londoners have an equal opportunity for good mental health and wellbeing. Launched publicly by the Mayor of London and the London Health Board partners in 2017, Thrive LDN has evolved and grown significantly in the past five years. More information can be found at www.thriveldn.co.uk.
Thrive LDN is the regional lead for suicide prevention in London on behalf of NHS England. As part of that role, they facilitate the multi-agency Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Group to deliver citywide projects to prevent suicide and support those affected by suicide.
Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year and Londoners’ life satisfaction and feelings of self-worth are lower than the national average. Thrive LDN was established in response to this, with the aim of reducing the number of Londoners affected by poor mental health.
The Thrive LDN Suicide Prevention Group has been meeting since spring 2017. It is composed of a range of figures involved in suicide prevention across London. Projects are funded by NHS England and the Group meets on a bimonthly basis to help facilitate the delivery of these projects.
Sharing best practice across London will help us all deliver the best possible local bereavement and wellbeing support services. At the height of the pandemic, we met as a group more regularly with sub-groups formed to look specifically at issues, including myth-busting and financial and economic resilience.
This work has continued, with the establishment of Thrive LDN’s Economic Wellbeing Forum, which includes suicide prevention, statutory health and social care partners, and voluntary and community sector organisations. The aim of the group is to collaboratively develop further public mental health and suicide prevention resources with those supporting Londoners struggling with debt or financial anxiety.