As part of Mental Health Innovations’ remit to improve the mental health of the UK population, we help build knowledge and skills across the sector.
We recently hosted an Emerging Minds cross-sector work experience placement for an early career researcher to work with our data team on a suicide de-escalation project. Emerging Minds is a research network that aims to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by children and young people. It is committed to supporting early career researchers with funded cross-sector placements.
Researcher Carolina Guzman Holst, a PhD student at the University of Oxford, undertook a placement with us where she helped us determine the factors contributing to suicide de-escalation in young, imminent risk texters.
Carolina carried out an investigation using anonymised texts from young people who had initiated a text conversation with the Shout service and expressed a wish, plan, means and timeframe to attempt suicide to a volunteer.
The Shout service is powered by volunteers who are supported by clinical supervisors when taking conversations. As part of her investigation, Carolina conducted interviews with both volunteers and clinical supervisors to understand their experiences of suicide prevention and intervention on the Shout platform. This helped us provide insight into how to best conduct conversations with people with suicidal ideation. The findings from this work are now being used to enhance training and support for volunteers and to help them de-escalate texters with suicidal intent.
The Emerging Minds scheme is crucial to cross-sector work, serving as a source of capacity-building in the digital mental health sector, and proved to be mutually beneficial for all those involved.