Emeritus Professor Linda Gask has a passion for building effective communication between the patient and the therapist. Her expertise is built on extensive experience in mental health, both professional and personal. Linda, a now retired Consultant Psychiatrist and someone who experiences depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide, was acutely aware of the need for effective communication to better understand and work with her patients.
In the mid 1990s, Linda and Professor Richard Morriss, decided to combine their research interests to develop a training model that helped bridge the gap between academic knowledge and clinical practice in frontline teams. The structure and methods of the training were designed to build skills in compassionate and empathetic communication with people experiencing thoughts of suicide.
A small pilot study confirmed that they were on the right track. The model improved communication skills with people experiencing thoughts of suicide. These methods became the foundation of STORM® (Skills-based Training On Risk Management) training. Linda, very humbly, attributes much of the success of the model to the talent of Richard. Whatever the truth, their creation had a positive impact that continues today.
Linda continued to receive requests for STORM® training long after two larger studies into the training model’s efficacy and feasibility had been published. She then realised that STORM® was yet to reach its full potential. These ongoing requests for STORM® training led to the eventual creation in 2003 of the STORM® Project within the University. Linda invited back Dr. Gill Green, employed as a Trainer and researcher on an earlier study, to manage the STORM® Project and to work on developing the packages. Soon after, the STORM® Project grew with new packages becoming available, and an expanding international audience.
With growth came the need for a new way of providing the training, and the journey to find a suitable business model began. Little did Linda know that Gill, small in stature big in passion and determination, would one day be the CEO of STORM® Skills Training CIC, and that she herself would be a Director of this very impactful Community Interest Company.
Linda has published a book, The Other Side Of Silence, about her personal experience of depression.