Primary Care and Suicide Prevention: Making the Links

Missed our webinar? No worries, you can watch the recording on demand at your own convenience.

This webinar took place on Wednesday 15th June 2022

About the webinar

We were delighted to be joined by a panel of leading experts for our webinar as we discussed the crucial role that primary care plays in identifying and supporting those at risk of suicide and self-harm. Not least through primary care’s connections with community, family, secondary care and other services.

The webinar:
    Sets the context through discussion of key research and the history of suicide prevention in primary care
    Reviews the current situation in primary care; what works well, what can work better and what opportunities are provided by new frameworks
    Provides a focus on young people and self-harm
We would like to say a huge thank you to our wonderful speakers who dedicated their time and helped to make this event a success. Their presentations are available to download below.

Our speakers

Professor Linda Gask

Professor Linda Gask

Emerita Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry, University of Manchester. Co-founder of STORM®.


I am a retired consultant psychiatrist and academic. I co-established the STORM® suicide prevention programme and carried out the original research that later led to setting up STORM® Skills Training CIC, of which I was also a co-founder. I have been an adviser to the World Health Organisation, on the board of the World Psychiatric Association, and a recipient of the RCPsych President’s Medal, where I am also the Presidential Lead for Primary Care. I am deputy chair of Six Degrees Social Enterprise in Salford, and Chair of the Blide Trust in Orkney where I now live full-time. I have lived experience of mental health problems and have published two well-received memoirs about living with depression.

Download Presentation


  • Primary care led the way in emphasising the importance of actively acquiring the skills to consult using video recordings – effective communication is key when time is limited.
  • How do we improve our skills and challenge our attitudes to help workers become more capable and confident in talking about suicide and self-harm?

Dr Faraz Mughal

General Practitioner and National Institute for Health and Care Research Doctoral Fellow, School of Medicine, Keele University


Faraz is an academic GP who researches how to improve care for people presenting with self-harm and suicidal distress in primary care. He has been awarded three consecutive NIHR research fellowships to support his work, received grant funding from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scientific Foundation Board, and is an elected Fellow of the RCGP. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal papers. He is a member of the current NICE self-harm clinical development guideline committee and is co-chair of the IASP suicide prevention in primary care special interest group. He is an RCGP clinical adviser and mental health representative.

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An overview of evidence on the role of primary care in suicide prevention and future research directions.

Dr Sohrab Panday

GP Clinical Lead for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities & Autism Derby & Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Steering Group of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. Clinical Lead for Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Derbyshire


Sohrab is a family doctor, working in Clay Cross, Derbyshire. He has 15 years’ experience in various commission roles focusing on mental health, learning disabilities, autism, drug, and alcohol services and CYP mental health services. He has a passion for suicide prevention having seen first hand the devastating impact it has on lives of families, colleagues, and communities.

In Peterborough he chaired the Suicide Prevention Implementation Board which influenced the widespread adoption of barriers in multistorey carparks. As the CCG mental health lead, he commissioned the STOP SUICIDE Community Awareness Campaign.

In Derbyshire, as CCG Mental Health Clinical Lead, he recognised the lack of support and training in primary care. He therefore developed and clinically led a peer-to-peer training programme whereby GPs visited primary care to train the whole team in suicide awareness and the clinicians in suicide response. (HSJ Award 2019)

He is an active member of the joint Royal Colleges Primary Care Mental Health Expert Reference Group, and he is on the Steering Group of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance which campaigns and shares best practice with its member organisations.

Sohrab has a perhaps unique combination of clinical, commissioning, training and leadership skills which focus on suicide prevention in primary care.

Download Presentation


How can we work together to ensure Primary Care has robust and resilient Suicide Prevention Policies including awareness and skills training; as well as developing ever closer support from other organisations to manage people with suicidality with confidence. In particular to support primary care manage the rising levels of self-harm and distress in young people

The Landscape

    • NHS restructuring, Integrated Care Systems, Primary Care Networks
      Pandemic, economy, young people
    • Pressures within Primary care – workforce, morale, training, digital consultations

The Opportunities

      • ICS to adopt suicide prevention as a system priority
      • PCNs – comprehensive individual and whole team training
      • PCNs – Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme – mental health professionals
      • Strong links to both voluntary sector – social prescribing
      • Community Mental Health Framework – Long Term Plan – Coproduction with experts by experience
      • Access to Mental Health Support – GP, Crisis Cafes, 111- option 2, Crisis Teams, ED liaison – Schools, CAMHS, voluntary support for parents and children


    • Universal adoption of person owned Safety Planning for all people in distress
    • Key Consultation Skills involved in suicide prevention
      Evidence informed Practice Protocols for Postvention and Prevention
    • Embedding essential training for all health care workers according to their role
    • Organisational collaboration aimed at communication and shared learning
Keith Waters

Keith Waters

Honorary Research Fellow (Self-Harm/Suicide Prevention) Centre for Research and Development, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Non-executive Director at STORM®.


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®  consultant with many years’ experience in facilitating, delivering and supporting STORM® 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® , 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, chapters in clinical text books on self-harm and suicide prevention and has contributed to policy and practice guidance developments Locally and nationally.
"Our original research, demonstrating the skills for listening and responding to people at risk of self-harm and suicide could be acquired, was carried out in primary care almost 25 years ago. We learn how to engage people in distress by listening, watching and rehearsing."

- Professor Linda Gask
"Suicide prevention can be seen as ever bodies business, with primary care in a significant influential role in making a difference and effectively saving lives. Time to talk and time to ask."

- Keith Waters
"In a fast changing NHS, primary care remains central in assessing and supporting people in distress: there has never been a more important time to optimise primary care services in a cross-sector suicide prevention approach."

-Dr Faraz Mughal
"The world of the NHS is undergoing rapid transformation, with Integrated Care Systems, Primary Care Networks and the new Community Mental Health Framework. We need to work together to find a way to introduce and embed Primary Care Suicide Prevention into its heart now and in a sustainable manner."

- Dr Sohrab Panday
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