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Risk Management

Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide - it is among the top 20 leading causes of death worldwide for all ages.

In the mid-1990s, researchers at The University of Manchester developed and evaluated a method for training health and other frontline professionals in suicide risk assessment and management skills.

Their research was in response to frontline workers' lack of skills to 'assess and manage a suicide crisis'. The team concluded that training alone does not change the suicide rate.

However, training does form an essential component of any suicide strategy, providing frontline staff across a range of services the skills to communicate effectively with people in crisis.

Professor Linda Gask and Dr Gillian Green continued their work and set up the STORM project (Skills-based Training On Risk Management) in 2003.

They showed that it is possible to significantly improve the attitudes, confidence and skills of a range of health and social care professionals by training them in assessing and managing people at risk of self-harm and suicide.

They have since developed the STORM® Self-harm Mitigation training and Postvention training packages.

The packages are purchased by organisations in the statutory, private and voluntary sectors to complement their suicide prevention strategy.

It has been successfully delivered in a large number of settings, including mental health services, A&E, primary care, schools, higher education prisons and the defence forces.

STORM® training is now recommended by UK Government agencies and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It is estimated that 230,000 frontline workers have now been trained by the over 670 STORM® facilitators globally.

If each trained person has reduced the risk of suicide in just two people, this will have resulted in an impact on 460,000 people at risk of suicide and over 2.5 million people within their social networks.

In 2012, STORM® Skills Training CIC, a not-for-private-profit social enterprise, was created to build on this work. It currently employs two full-time and three part-time staff.

“It is estimated that 230,000 frontline workers have now been trained by the over 670 STORM® facilitators globally. If each trained person has reduced the risk of suicide in just two people, this will have resulted in an impact on 460,000 people at risk of suicide and over 2.5 million people within their social networks.”

Dr Gillian Green / Director of STORM Skills Training