In mental health, like with physical health, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When it comes to suicide prevention and self harm mitigation there are lots of pieces to bring together.

It goes without saying that interdisciplinary collaboration is considered an important part of best practice. However, in the current climate, finding the time and the money for this can be a challenge. We took sometime to chat with Martin Patrick, Community Engagement Consultant: Health & Social Care Specialist, about how STORM® seminars help to put back into the community.

Last Tuesday, 1st March 2016 marked the first STORM seminar for 2016, the 3rd over the past few years. STORM® seminar are one of the ways we, the STORM® team, demonstrate our commitment to community engagement; feeding our surplus income back into the community, rather than into the pockets of shareholders.

The ‘Working with Young People: Self-harm, depression and personality disorder’ seminar was a collaborative partnership between Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Clinical Networks and STORM® Skills Training CIC.

The seminar targeted those working with young people, a group particularly vulnerable to self -harm and suicide. It provided an opportunity for people working at the coalface to address critical issue, including the best way to treat, help and support vulnerable young people using an interdisciplinary approach. The event attracted a full house of 70 delegates across a wide spectrum of professions and backgrounds, including; social workers, teachers, police, ambulance staff, nurses, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the voluntary sector and doctors.

According to Martin, the feedback was very positive. The audience was welcomed to participate by seminar chair Dr. Laurie Van Niekerk from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Additionally, they were wowed by the frankness of a presentation by Dr. Linda Gask (Emirata Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry), who revealed her personal and professional experience of depression as a teenager and young adult.

However, the true highlight of the afternoon, according to Martin, was a panel discussion with four young people who are participating in a therapeutic self-help group aimed at young people with personality disorders. This group has been set up by 42nd Street; an innovative Greater Manchester charity providing free and confidential services to young people. Each young person presented with clarity and conviction. They were particularly brilliant at explaining how their group functioned. Such resources are very scarce for young adults with personality disorders. A mental health issue that is poorly understood, even within mental health services.

Martin has also been working closely with the University of Manchester and Health Education England to get a conference up and running this month. This conference, schedule for this Wednesday, 9th March, 2016 focused on communication with young people viewed as a means of early intervention/prevention.

After this very busy period for the team, Martin reports that he will continue to work with our partners to address the training needs, in the STORM® community engagement pipeline includes three seminars for Cheshire and Merseyside on self-harm, transgender issues and communication.

The STORM® team would like to acknowledge that much of the current activity for seminars and conferences is in the birthplace of STORM, Cheshire and Greater Manchester, Martin is exploring opportunities to broaden this, we also have other community engagement initiatives, such as the HeyAreYouOK? Campaign that will help us to broaden our impact.

If you would like to receive news about our conferences, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or keep an eye on our training calendar.

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