More than 80 delegates attend Lincoln’s First Suicide Prevention Conference

More than 80 people attended Lincoln’s First Suicide Prevention Conference this week to find ways to stem an “avoidable” loss of life in the future – after figures revealed the city has seen its highest suicide rate since 2002.

As many as 20 people in Lincoln took their own lives in the last year and Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that 87 people committed suicide in the county in 2018.

Delegates, including mental health practitioners, front-line workers and counsellors, listened to inspirational speakers and reflected on the figures during the World Suicide Prevention Day event at The Showroom, in Tritton Road, which was organised by the NWCH (Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub).

Delegates also attended in-depth workshops on: Suicide Prevention in Young People (the number of young people under the age of 24 who committed suicide hit a 19-year-high last year); Suicide Prevention in the LGBT-plus community and ADHD and Suicide.

Delegates heard from NWCH Chief Executive Naomi Watkins about her recent six-week research trip to Australia and New Zealand, following winning a Winston Churchill Fellowship.

After a welcome from Naomi, Lincolnshire Police & Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said he recognised the importance of tackling the risk of suicides, which has seen the tightening-up of gun licensing locally.

“A young officer who has had classroom-based training can go out with his mentor and his first experiences can be attending a fatal RTA, followed by a suicide. This has brought home to me how difficult the job is. Wearing a uniform doesn’t stop people from having human frailty. We have to support them and share best practice with others,” he said.

The ONS figures show that, countrywide, the number of people ending their lives by suicide increased by 11.8 per cent from 5,821 to 6,507. That is the first increase in the suicide rate since 2013. Males made-up 75 per cent of that 6,507.

Fortis Therapy & Training Managing Director Alexis Powell-Howard, who supports people from diverse backgrounds picked-up on this issue, in her Mental Emotional Needs (MEN) address.

Kyle Walker of Positive Connections said people needed to be aware of the damaging impact of listening to persistent unhelpful messages that pop into their heads.

“My message to others is, the past has gone, it’s important to live in the present. You can be affected by what (messages) you absorb, but what you believe in is what you will become. It’s important to change your internal dialogue,” said Kyle.

SK First Aid Training Director Samantha Kendall spoke about Mental Health and Crisis Situations. Samantha, who formerly worked as a qualified Emergency Medical Technician for seven years, said crews often put on brave faces when dealing with devastating situations.

Heath Blogger Thomas Dunning (aka The Mental Health Runner), who was rocked by the loss of his brother Will Bonner in 2009, has also experienced other problems including cyber-bullying.

Volunteer, coach and campaigner for the improvement of her local mental health services, Emily Nuttall travelled from Guernsey to speak at the conference.

“I think a lot of people try to give the impression they are someone they are not. You are not being weak if you just be yourself. I believe many people wear masks. I urge them to leave theirs at home and realise it is fine “not to feel okay,” she said.

Surrey woman Charley James (29), who told how she and her sister Katie both contemplated ending their lives by suicide on different occasions, is a keen advocate of mental health awareness.

“I was put through to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health service because I had been self-harming and eventually learned that I had an emotional unstable personality disorder, that wasn’t picked up until much later,” she said.

The recovering addict, who used drugs and alcohol in order to self-medicate, has been clean for two-and-a-half years, but said it was far too long to get properly diagnosed. After “15 years of pain” she wants to see “faults in the system” addressed.

The conference featured well-attended workshops. NWCH Counselling & Safeguarding Lead & Trainer Chris Morris, led the session on Suicide Prevention in Young People.

Robert Glenton, founder of Upbeat – a social group for people with a personality disorder – and former professional footballer and now an enthusiastic mental health advocate Martin Pemberton of Rhomb Associates, also spoke.

NWCH Chief Executive Naomi Watkins shared what she had discovered during her six-week visit to Australia and New Zealand.

“This trip gave me an unrivalled opportunity to see and hear, first hand, how professional and voluntary organisations there are working to prevent suicides. We shared so much of value. Our counterparts face similar issues, but people seem to be more philanthropic and there is more funding around.”

Colleague and fellow NWCH Director Charlie Blackwell said it had been a highly successful day, adding that it is the socially isolated and those without supportive family, friends and work colleagues who are the most at risk of mental health challenges – but help is available.

Read all about it – lots of news and updates this month

What a busy few months we have had! Let’s start with a visit from the Police Crime Commissioner to celebrate our 10,000 counselling session since we started in April 2017!

At NWCH we counsel both victims of crime and help with the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.

“The work NWCH does is vital for helping victims of crime rebuild shattered lives and helps increase the likelihood of ex-offenders reintegrating back into society, reducing the number of victims,” said Mr Marc Jones.

“It’s been fascinating to see the amazing work that goes on here. It’s one crucial piece of a complex jigsaw of services that help our communities remain healthy, feel supported and stay safe.”

NWCH’s Director, Charlie Blackwell said: “NWCH has worked tirelessly for over two years to forge successful collaborations with as many organisations as possible, and many now refer clients to us, enabling us to provide counselling to the most vulnerable members of society.

“We have invested heavily in raising awareness of our services and the general public is now much more aware of what we offer. Week on week, we are seeing increasing numbers of self-referrals with people emailing or calling the Hub directly to request counselling.”

(L-R) Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, with NWCH Director, Charlton Blackwell.



We won an award!

Naomi Watkins returned home from her research project in Australia and New Zealand to win an award for NWCH! Five of Lincolnshire’s successful, established and emerging new directors and business leaders are winners for the coveted Institute of Directors (IoD) East Midlands Director of the Year awards 2019.

Over 150 guests attended the IoD East Midlands Director of the Year 2019 awards, held this year at Winstanley House in Leicestershire.

Forty six of the region’s successful, established and emerging directors and business leaders were finalists in the awards. Winners of the twelve categories will go forward to the IoD’s national finals in London on October 18th 2019.
Our CEO Naomi Watkins won Director of the year award in the start-up category. She had this to say about her win:
“It is an absolute honour to receive this award and represent the third sector and a community interest company. Running a business that is not-for-profit is extremely challenging. I couldn’t do what I do without my team, so this award is for all of them.”


(L-R)  Bruce Spencer-Knott of Minster Surfacing won the Director of the Year in the Innovation category. Caroline Killeavy of the Lincolnshire YMCA won the Director of the Year Third Sector. Naomi Watkins of NW Counselling Hub CIC won the Start Up category. Bill Skelly, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police was named Public Sector Director of the Year. Representative for Sean Ramsden of Ramsden International won the Large Business Award.


We are now renting out some of our counselling rooms – contact us here to find out more. Suitable for therapists, holistic therapists, reiki practitioners, and any wellbeing therapist / practitioner.


We are now providing counselling via Skype and Telephone – please contact us here to find out more and book an assessment call.

We believe counsellors should be supported too, we can help with a hub for you to seek support from others.
We provide workshops and training of a high standard to help you keep your CPD up to date.
For more information about our NEW membership and all things training contact us here.

Are you passionate about Suicide Prevention? – If you are have you got your ticket yet to our conference? A Conference addressing Suicide Prevention. With guest speakers sharing their research, telling their lived experiences with their own mental health, and sharing good practice. Including workshops by NWCH trainers and a guest trainer in the afternoon based around three key topics; Suicide Prevention in Young People, Suicide Prevention in Adults, Suicide Prevention in the LBGT+ Community.

NWCH is passionate about suicide prevention and being able to see any warning signs early on, so we can support others to address the key concerns in clients lives. Through counselling and support at our dedicated hub in Lincoln we help many people who have suicidal ideation and/or intention. This conference is aimed at practitioners, front line workers, counsellors, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, PSHE leads in Schools, pastoral teams in schools, clinicians, GP’s and mental health practitioners.

Early bird ticket only available until the end of July – book here Sold Out

See our full calendar of events here.

That’s it for now! What a jam packed few months we have had! Thank you for all your support for us as always.