Cornish Suicide Campaign Shortlisted for ‘Medical Oscar’

It has recently been announced that a campaign encouraging men in Cornwall with suicidal thoughts to get help, has been shortlisted for a British Medical Journal Award, the medical world’s equivalent to an Oscar.

Cornish Suicide Campaign Shortlisted for ‘Medical Oscar’

The ‘Don’t flush your life away’ campaign was launched in Cornwall by a group of organisations that included the Samaritans, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, St Austell Brewery, Public Health Cornwall and BBC Radio Cornwall.

Dr Rohit Shankar, Consultant in Adult Developmental Neuropsychiatry at the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, “Don’t Flush Your Life Away is an innovative way to raise levels of safety using local organisations and businesses to raise awareness of mental health.

The campaign uses posters featuring local men to encourage others to seek help with their mental health. The campaign is unique in that it gets the precious 30 seconds of a person’s time to read a message, remember it, know there is a contact and if needed use it.” 

“Getting shortlisted for a BMJ award is a huge validation of the outstanding work Cornwall is doing in promoting safety in mental health and setting a national example.​”

Dr Sara Roberts, the Consultant in Public Health for Cornwall Council said, “I am delighted to hear that the value of this campaign has been recognised by the British Medical Journal. The suicide rate in Cornwall is higher than expected and we know that middle aged and older men are at particular risk.”

“Anything we can do that helps men to realise that they are not alone with their feelings and that help is available is worth trying. We have been overwhelmed by the interest taken in the campaign and the support offered by a range of organisations.”

Dr Roberts added, “This clearly shows that ‘Cornwall Cares About You’ is not just a slogan on a poster, in Cornwall, we really do care.”

Around 1300 posters have been displayed in public houses, GP practices, toilets, Council and Cornwall Commissioning Group offices, police stations and small businesses across the county.

Numerous conversations have taken place over BBC Radio Cornwall and the campaign was promoted at the Royal Cornwall Show. Positive feedback has also been received from organisations displaying posters who reported they had initiated many conversations among their staff.

Chris Knight, Communications Manager at St Austell Brewery added, “The pub is sometimes the last social space in a community and a place where people can feel relaxed and talk to friends, so we were delighted to be able to support the campaign.”

“Making use of those few minutes in the loo when you have people’s undivided attention was a fantastic idea. If it helps even one person, or prompts someone to help another, then it has to be an incredibly worthwhile project.”

The Cornwall based team will find out if they have won the award at a ceremony to be held in London in May.