Calls have been made for the implementation of a suicide prevention programme for the nursing workforce in the UK.
Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have discussed the need for urgent action on suicide within the profession, and have highlighted how a ‘consistent and coordinated approach’ is required.
During the RCN’s annual conference in Brighton last week, nursing staff took to the stand to share tragic stories of nurses and colleagues who had died by suicide.
Registered nurse and member of the RCN Education Forum Ally Middleton shared how her best friend, who was also a nurse, died by suicide.
‘It is really important that we support our nurses,’ she told the conference.
‘Support us to act and to help as much as possible with this terrible epidemic.’
Meanwhile, Chantel Rose, a mental health nurse of 25 years said her job was ‘getting harder’ and ‘more distressing’.
‘Sadly, I have more fellow nurses on my caseloads than ever in my entire life,’ she said. ‘And it breaks my heart that I could be next. Purely because I’ve worked too hard. I’ve tried to help too many people. I’ve done the extra hours.’
Ms Rose called on fellow nursing staff to ‘just talk to each other’ and urged RCN Council to ‘make a change’.
‘We’re going to lose more of our colleagues if things don’t change,’ she added.
The discussion at the conference came as part of a resolution which called on RCN Council to ‘lobby for the implementation of an evidence based, integrated suicide prevention programme for the nursing workforce across the UK’. It was overwhelmingly passed.
It was led by advanced nurse practitioner Ruth Bailey, from the RCN East Sussex branch.
Addressing the conference, Ms Bailey said: ‘We need a consistent and coordinated approach, an evidence-based suicide prevention programme.
‘And we need the RCN to lobby for urgent action now. It is imperative that the RCN as the voice of nursing, steps into this space, and leads a coordinated UK response to this epidemic of distress and act now to prevent further death by suicide in nursing and midwifery.’
If you need someone to talk to the Samaritans can be contacted on 116123 and The Laura Hyde Foundation – a mental health charity set up in memory of a Royal Navy nurse who died by suicide – can be found here.