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Our story so far…

Little did our co-founders, Gill and Linda, know that in 20 years’ time, Storm Skills Training would become the successful not-for-profit, social enterprise that it is today.

Research is a core part of our identity – and it always will be

Storm Skills Training in Self-harm and Suicide Prevention is a high-quality, effective self-harm and suicide prevention training package that is supported by a wealth of research, experience, and expertise.

The research proves that our training helps enhance skills, knowledge, and confidence. This gives you the confidence that it works.

Research is a core part of Storm Skills Training’s identity. It lies at the heart of everything we do, and it always will. Research into the effectiveness of our training methodology is where we started. 

Our training encompasses best practice, research, evidence, and lived experience in suicide and self-harm prevention and related fields.

Our research, consultation and evaluation

Our packages are based on academic research and best practice with a focus on real life experiences.

You can have confidence in our training package because research shows that it makes a significant difference; improving the skills, attitudes, and confidence of frontline team members across different settings and contexts, from schools and prisons to frontline mental health teams.

By commissioning Storm Skills Training, you can feel confident that our training package is of the highest quality and that it is based on research, evidence, evaluation, and consultation.


Where it all began…

We’re often asked, “Where did it all begin?”. And what better way to explain than to tell you a story…

It’s the mid-1990s, and two students of psychiatry, Professor Linda Gask and Professor Richard Morriss, came together with a shared vision of improving the conversations that people have with people in distress.

They decided to combine their research interests to develop a training methodology and model that helped bridge the gap between academic knowledge and clinical practice in frontline teams.

They developed a training package that focused on how to have conversations with people in distress, based on the skills of having conversations, and demonstrated how using viewing recorded roleplays could actually change people’s behaviour.

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.

Late 1990’s

The meeting of our co-founders

In 1997, it was a chance job advertisement in a national paper for a Trainer and Researcher that introduced Dr. Gill Green to Storm Skills Training. It was an opportunity to work on a 12-month project with Professor Linda Gask at the University of Manchester.

Linda interviewed Gill for the job and the first meeting of what would lead to a long and successful partnership.

After the project:


  • Gill stepped away for a few years, remaining in research but working with prisons on a different project.
  • Linda continued to receive requests for Storm Skills Training long after two larger studies into the training model’s efficacy and feasibility had been published.

Linda realised that this was only just the beginning for Storm Skills Training.

What else would be possible?

Early 2000’s

Responding to the increasing demand for self-harm and suicide prevention training

It’s now 2003, and the ongoing requests for training led to the creation of the Storm Project at the University of Manchester.

Linda invited Gill back to manage the project, and work on developing the training packages.

There was a field-wide focus during this time towards academic research into the real world. The Storm project was seen as an excellent candidate for this. And the journey to finding a suitably ethical business model began…

2010 to 2011

Creation of Storm Skills Training as a social impact Community Interest Company

The research that Linda, Gill, and their colleagues were doing was making a real difference to help people working on the frontline to enhance their skills to help prevent suicide. The University of Manchester were eager to get the research out to the real world to make even more of an impact to prevent suicide.

When considering the business models, the only clear option that stood out was a new concept at the time – to set up a Social Enterprise (Community Interest Company). The Social Enterprise business model encapsulated everything that they wanted Storm Skills Training to be about and most importantly it aligned to their core values.

When Storm Skills Training CIC was set up in 2011, Gill became CEO and Linda became a Director of this very impactful Community Interest Company.

Gill received a number of recognition awards from UnLtd over the years for her work creating a successful social enterprise. The first award she received, the “Dare to be Different” in Higher Education in 2010, was the milestone that introduced Gill to Alf Hill (now a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Storm Skills Training Board) and his business acumen.


Extending our impact to the other side of the globe

It wasn’t long until the project grew. New packages were being created and we were even starting to expand our reach to an international audience – Australia.

In 2013, Gill visited Australia to train up a new group of facilitators, this is when she first met Bianca Romanyk, (our now CEO!). Bianca was one of the amazing trainee facilitators that Gill trained. Bianca had just started a brand new role as a Capacity Building and Development Officer, delivering Storm Skills Training in schools across Australia, as part of a suicide postvention support service for schools. At this stage, Bianca could see the positive impact the training had on school communities. Her passion for suicide prevention and Storm Skills Training continued to grow.

Bianca had an instant connection with Storm Skills Training – she left the training session feeling so empowered that she knew there was something she could do to help school communities to have more effective conversations about suicide. She wanted everyone to feel the same.

After the training, Gill returned back to the UK to continue developing Storm Skills Training. Bianca continued making an impact on the other side of the globe delivering Storm Skills Training. 


Bianca teams up with Gill at Storm Skills Training CIC…

Gill returns to Australia to train up more facilitators, and upgrade Bianca and her colleagues to the newest version of Storm Skills Training – Version 3. It was during this time that Bianca and Gill discussed Bianca’s impending move to the UK. And an agreement to meet when she got there, to discuss the possibilities of working together. Bianca was thrilled.
Needless to say, Bianca did move to the UK. She worked with Gill to get Version 4 out to customers. And took a lead role in leading the organisation through the pandemic and into the online world.


Storm Skills Training today

Today, Storm Skills Training is more than just a training package. We are a successful social enterprise that continues to benefit the self-harm and suicide prevention community. Although Storm Skills Training has evolved over time, the training methodologies that were developed back then are what we use today.

Our training package continues to be built on a solid foundation of:

  • Research
  • Expertise
  • The latest evidence, research, lived experience, and best practice.

Research shows that our training methodologies make a difference to the skills, attitudes, and confidence of frontline team members, across a number of different settings. From schools and prisons to frontline mental health teams.

Today, Storm Skills Training CIC continues to benefit the self-harm and suicide prevention community. We continue to believe that no one should profit from the distress of others. We exist to provide Self-harm and Suicide Prevention training, and being successful in the training we deliver means we can extend our impact beyond this. Every penny we generate is used for the sole purpose of benefiting the self-harm and suicide prevention community, and so we can continue our work to help us work toward achieving our vision and mission.

We are still working to improve engagement, conversation, and interventions with people in distress to help prevent suicide.

We’re passionate about reducing the incidence and impact of self-harm and suicide. And we are working towards our mission of;

More effective conversations that help reduce distress and fewer lives lost to self-harm and suicide.

The wonderful people that help to make Storm Skills Training a success

    Linda's Story:

    Meet Linda Gask: Co-founder

    I studied medicine in Edinburgh, before moving to Manchester where I trained in psychiatry. I had both professional and personal interest in mental health, having experienced depression and anxiety myself. I was acutely aware of the need for effective communication to better understand and work with my patients.

    Storm Skills Training started as a research project Manchester University funded by the Department of Health in the 1990s. Myself and Richard Morriss developed a training package that demonstrated how using viewing recorded roleplays could actually change people’s behaviour. We first tested our approach in Preston, then across a wider area in South Lancashire.

    At that point, we named it Storm Skills Training and we were joined by Gill Green to roll out the delivery of training. Gill further developed Storm as a CIC and it’s wonderful to see how it has grown to where it is today under Bianca and her team.

    My passion for many years has been on making mental health support more accessible in primary care. Until the Spring of 2023, I was Presidential lead for primary care at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and I continue to offer advice on the issue.

    I moved to Orkney full time in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. I am Chair of a local mental health organisation called the Bilde Trust. As a rural community, we face our own challenges with mental health – it’s great to be involved in making a difference where I live.

    Orkney is a wonderful place, unlike anywhere else in Scotland or the UK. I particularly enjoy writing here. After my first book, The Other Side of Silence, was published, I wrote my second (Finding True North) about how moving here positively impacted my own mental health.

    My third book will be published at the end of 2024, exploring mental health and feminism. Maybe then I will take it easy, but that’s very hard for me to do!

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    © 2023 Storm Skills Training CIC | Company number: 07726889

    A not-for-profit social enterprise delivering high-quality skills training in self-harm and suicide prevention.

    Keith's Story

    Meet Keith Waters: Non-executive Director

    Keith has over 25 years of clinical experience in Liaison psychiatry, self-harm and suicide prevention and was awarded an Honorary Research Fellowship by Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (DHCFT) in 2013.

    For many years he was the lead for the Derby site of the Multicentre Study of self-harm in England, a study which he still maintains a very active role in. Until recently he was the Clinical director for self-harm and suicide prevention for the Trust and retains a post within the research team.

    Keith is also a Storm Skills Training consultant with many years experience in facilitating, delivering, and supporting Storm Skills Training and has for a number of years held a seat on the National Suicide Prevention Alliance steering group.

    He has been the Suicide Prevention manager for the East Midlands and Clinical Advisor for Suicide Prevention with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network, developed a business and clinical case for Liaison Psychiatry Services in Derbyshire, and was the clinical advisor for its implementation.

    Keith is an experienced trainer, facilitator, and presenter in Self Harm and Suicide prevention and management, locally and nationally in addition to the work with DHCFT and Storm Skills Training, has helped develop and delivered an initially lottery-funded suicide awareness training program across the East Midlands and organised chaired and delivered at numerous nation conferences and events. Keith has also been a joint author on numerous published research works, and chapters in clinical textbooks on self-harm and suicide prevention and has contributed to policy and practice guidance developments locally and nationally.

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    Alf's Story

    Meet Alf Hill: Non-executive Director

    I first encountered Storm Skills Training CIC during my time as a volunteer Business Mentor at Unltd – a charity that supports social enterprises. Co-founder Gill Green was one my mentees in 2010 when Storm Skills Training was still within the University of Manchester and at the beginning of its journey to becoming an independent Community Interest Company.

    At our first meeting I asked Gill, “How do you think I can help you?” Gill’s response was “Well… you could explain accounting to me.” We worked together for 18 months to develop Storm Skills Training as a social business. When Storm Skills Training CIC was finally incorporated in 2011, I was invited by Gill and Linda to be a non-executive Director and became Chair of the Board ten years later in 2021.

    I’ve had a diverse career; initially as a civil servant, then in senior management and executive and non-executive roles in insurance and reinsurance in the UK and USA, in the corporate sector, and in Lloyd’s of London.

    I returned to the public sector initially in adult education then at the Equal Opportunities Commission, later the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    A qualified accountant, I’ve been trustee of several charities, local and national, currently the Yapp Charitable Trust and the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

    At Storm Skills Training, post-pandemic I feel that we are stronger than ever. I’m excited about the future with our new team with an ambitious plan.

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    Gill's Story

    Meet Gill Green: Co-founder

    My career has taken me from nursing to academic research and finally to the development of Storm Skills Training CIC as a skills training company.

    When I was nursing, so many of my patients often expressed that they felt so hopeless that they thought about ending their life. And like so many of my colleagues, I felt ill-equipped to know the right way to respond. It was a dilemma that I wanted to address through skills training – to give fellow healthcare professionals the confidence and practice they needed to have those difficult conversations.

    In 1997, it was a chance job advertisement in a national paper for a Trainer and Researcher that introduced me to Storm Skills Training. At the time, I saw the 12-month project, working with Linda Gask at the University of Manchester, as an opportunity to learn new skills to take back to clinical practice. After the project, I stepped away for a few years, remaining in research but working with prisons on a different project. Research was definitely where I wanted to be.

    I came back to the University of Manchester in 2003, when Linda and I started to develop the training package we now know as Storm Skills Training. It was important to us to translate the theory into usable, effective practice. I knew that as a healthcare practitioner, it wouldn’t be enough to sit in a room and be ‘taught’ suicide prevention. It is only through practice that we can actually ‘do’ suicide prevention.

    I’m looking forward to supporting Bianca in realising her vision for where we go to next – and to exploring even more new directions for my own career. 

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    Bianca's Story

    Meet Bianca Romanyk: CEO

    After 20 years in the mental health field, I am incredibly proud to be CEO of Storm Skills Training.

    In my early career as a probationary psychologist working in community mental health, I can remember thinking that I’d like to one day have a role that could influence and impact the lives of many who were in distress. I recall meeting the CEO of the mental health service and being inspired by her and the compassion and empathy she showed those experiencing mental health issues.

    Being in a small town in rural Australia I had the privilege of my role spanning across several areas of mental health, including working in an ongoing way with people with severe mental illness and crisis assessment (and being on call). I enjoyed all of it - I loved working with people, building trusting relationships, and working alongside them. I developed a special interest in working with younger adults with complex trauma and was lucky enough to train and be part of the Dialectical Behavioural Team for a short while. All of these experiences in my early career have driven my passion to make a difference for those in distress. I believe it is the quality of the connection that we make with people that makes a difference.

    My career took me away from the frontline but rooted deeply in mental health and creating positive change. I found myself sat in a Storm Skills Training session as a trainee facilitator in 2013, Gill was delivering the course. I’d started in a brand-new role, working with schools in Australia to support their communities impacted by suicide. I recall vividly the anxiety of being on film in front of my new colleagues and the relief, value, and benefit the experience gave me. I left the training session feeling so empowered – I knew this course would help teachers and others working in schools to have conversations that made a difference to young people in significant distress. I wanted everyone to have Storm Skills Training!

    Life presented itself with an opportunity to move to the UK. In 2014, before I left, Gill returned to Australia, we agreed to meet and talk about the opportunity to work together when I arrived. I arrived in the UK, with my two dogs, on the 7th of August 2015 and started work with Storm Skills Training on World Suicide Prevention Day the next month.

    I haven’t looked back, my life here in the UK is lovely! When I’m not working, you’ll find me on my local common with my dogs, Derek and Doris, enjoying the view and nature. Or in my garden having a chat to the plants. I enjoy all things creative. More recently I have become a foster carer and am looking forward to this new life challenge and making a difference to the lives of young people.

    I love the Storm Skills Training team, our consultants, and community and am always thinking about how to build and improve on the work we do, to have a positive impact on the world. I know that between us all we can make a real difference to people in distress. That’s what I am most excited about.

    I believe passionately that Storm Skills Training helps to save lives. My vision for the future of Storm Skills Training, and our community, is to strive toward a more collaborative, empowering, and person-centred approach to self-harm and suicide prevention. A world where distress is met with compassion, everyone feels empowered to help and the support offered is tailored to the unique needs of people and their stories.





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    Find support:

    If you need help and support please reach out for it, here are some options:

    Samaritans (UK)

    Email: jo@samaritans.org

    Phone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

    Visit: samaritans.org

    International Association for Suicide Prevention (International)

    Visit: findahelpline.com/i/iasp