Collaboration, not Competition.

Collaboration, not Competition.

Why Collaboration is the Key to Transforming Mental Health Support and Preventing Suicides in Wigan and Leigh.

As the founder of EPiC HOPE, I’ve seen firsthand how isolation and stigma around mental health can fuel crises and lead to tragic outcomes. But I’ve also witnessed the incredible power of community action to change lives and save lives. That’s why I firmly believe that collaboration is the key to transforming mental health support and preventing suicides in Wigan.

You see, when we work together, we can ‘Join the Dots’ and see the bigger picture. Each of us has a unique role to play. Local suicide prevention and mental health organisations like ours provide vital services like crisis intervention, peer support groups, training, and resources for families and individuals. Healthcare providers offer essential treatments and referrals. Employers can create suicide safer and mentally healthy workplaces and support employees in need. Schools and colleges can educate students and staff about suicide awareness, alertness, and prevention, mental health and how to respond to crises. Yes, we can all get on with this brilliant work separately.

But when we collaborate, the impact is exponentially greater. We can identify gaps in care, break down barriers to access, and try to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. Just imagine a local non-profit partnering with a healthcare provider to offer walk-in counselling services. Watch this space! 😊 Or a college teaming up with us to provide suicide prevention training for teachers and peer support for struggling students. These collaborations create seamless, wrap-around care that supports individuals and families across different parts of their lives.

Community-led initiatives, like our EPiC HOPE Harbours, peer support groups and advocacy campaigns, also play a pivotal role in reducing stigma and building resolve. When people, like me, with lived experience of suicide, and mental health challenges join forces with families, friends, and allies, they create a powerful united voice that confirms to many others that they are not alone, and that recovery is possible.

I’m particularly passionate about collaboration with other organisations working to prevent suicide. We can share resources, learn from each other’s successes and challenges, and advocate together for policy changes that make a real difference in people’s lives. When we work together, we can create a safety net that catches those at risk before a crisis escalates.

Now, I know that collaboration isn’t always easy. It requires of us an openness, a trust, and a willingness to share power and resources. But the benefits are undeniable. When we put aside competition and focus on our shared mission, which ultimately is to save lives, and to make life better for people, we can create a force that is far greater than the sum of its parts. I feel honoured to work alongside some incredible people in Wigan who are as dedicated to the cause as I am. My spirit is regularly lifted when I receive a phone call from someone who wants to get involved and understands the power of collaboration.

The World Health Organisation certainly recognises this dynamism of collaboration in mental health. Their Global Mental Health Action Plan calls for increased cooperation between governments, international organisations, and civil society to improve mental health outcomes worldwide. It emphasises the importance of inclusion, human rights, and health equity in mental health care and promotion.

As we get ready for our Join the Dots event in June, we want to acknowledge our hope that as you read this you will want to join in and experience the effectiveness of collaboration and how it can transform the way we approach mental health and suicide prevention in our town, Wigan. Let’s ‘Join the Dots,’ break down barriers, and create a borough where everyone has access to the support they need to thrive. By working together, we can build stronger communities, we can save lives, and we can create a mental health system that is truly for everyone.

“It takes all of us coming together to save a life. No single organisation, no single person, can bear the burden of suicide prevention and mental health crises alone. The path to prevention is paved with partnerships.”


***Ellie will be speaking at the groundbreaking suicide prevention Launch Conference of Join the Dots hosted by The Jordan Legacy and Toward Zero Suicide, amongst a stunning line up of the UK’s leading Suicide Prevention advocates, Lived Experience experts, and campaigners – tap here for tickets

***Launch Conference Line-Up

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