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Sharon Lovell has joined Rural Action Derbyshire, based in Wirksworth, to lead Suicide Awareness Partnership Training (SAPT) Derbyshire.

Sharon hails from Swansea and until now has worked in retail trades, lastly as operations manager at chocolate makers Thornton’s for 12 years. But having decided on a career change, Sharon went on to study Sociology with Psychology at Derby University where she achieved a first class honours degree.

As part of her studies, Sharon became interested in death and how communities approach and deal with it. She even applied for a job with a funeral director! But when she saw her present post advertised she said "that’s the job for me”.

The Suicide Awareness Partnership Training was piloted in Leicestershire between 2005 to 2008 and, after a successful bid to the Big Lottery for funding, as well as continuing in Leicestershire, the project was extended to Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire, with the aim of reducing suicide by 20% by 2012, in line with the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy reports that approximately 4,300 people take their own lives in England each year, with suicide the main cause of death in people with mental illness. It also reports that 95% of people who die by suicide had been admitted to hospital during the previous year due to self-harming and that many people deliberate suicide at some point in their lives.

The training offered by the project is in the form of half-day suicide awareness seminars, which are open to everyone, but especially aimed at those whose work is likely to bring them into contact with people who are vulnerable to suicide or self-harm. Delegates are encouraged to offer help or influence five people over a three year period.

As an alternative, thirty-minute presentations can be delivered to busy employers who may have employees at risk of suicide.

The training covers subjects such as attitudes to suicide, the myths, the facts, risk factors, warning signs and how to help.

For more information:

Contact Sharon Lovell, SAPT Project Officer Tel: 01629 821921 / 07769 142424


Could you help save lives? shimAdd News4 to Scrapbook

Could you help save lives?

Could you recognise someone at risk of suicide? Would you know how to help them? Through a new project offering FREE training in suicide awareness it is hoped more and more people will be able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions.

The Suicide Awareness Partnership Training (SAPT) Project, funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities programme and run by Rural Action Derbyshire (formerly Derbyshire Rural Community Council), aims to help reduce suicide by 20% by 2012 in line with the National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) by delivering training across Derbyshire to encourage an openness about the subject of suicide, reduce the stigma and attitudes about suicide and self harm and raise awareness of its close links with mental illness.

According to the NSPS, in England a person dies every two hours by suicide and approximately 4,300 people take their own lives every year. In the East Midlands an average of just under 360 deaths by suicide occurred between 2003 – 2007. Of those numbers, those living and working in rural communities present a particularly high risk.

"Rural communities are a high risk group because of the isolation often experienced,” says Sharon Lovell, the SAPT Project Officer. She explains, "Social exclusion has been exacerbated by the closure of post offices and village shops, and the reduction in public transport, and farming communities have been hit by many difficulties in recent years. Being cut off from essential services can often lead to depression and stress.”

She adds, "In a small rural community such a death can take its toll on the whole community.”

With £432,000 from the Big Lottery, the three-year SAPT project is being rolled out across the East Midlands region following a successful pilot project in Leicestershire, run by Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Community Council.

The free training will commence in January 2010 and is open to everyone, particularly those that work with people. All that is asked is that all those attending the training aim to help or influence a total of five people over the three year period.

For further information about the training please contact Sharon Lovell on 01629 821921 or email

For more information

For information about the project and the training offered please contact Sharon Lovell on 01629 821921 /

Notes for Editors

The SAPT project is a partnership across the East Midlands. Other training projects are in place in Leicestershire (Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Community Council); Nottinghamshire (Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire) and Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire ACRE).

Over the three year project the Suicide Awareness Partnership Training will:

  • Hold 27 half-day seminars per year, with a launch seminar planned for January 2010;
  • Deliver 12 thirty-minute presentations (in years 2 & 3) to busy employers at their place of work;
  • Provide regular communication through the media and publicity;
  • Encourage organisations such as MIND, the Samaritans and Bereavement Charities, and NHS Clinicians to undertake the training and contribute to the cause by facilitating seminars.

Rural Action Derbyshire

Rural Action Derbyshire, formerly Derbyshire Rural Community Council, is an independent charitable organisation working to improve life for those people living and working in rural Derbyshire. RAD works to meet this aims by:

  • Providing direct services to help people and groups in rural communities;
  • Raising awareness of the issues faced by rural communities.

Further information about the organisation can be found at or by calling 01629 824797.

We provide half-day suicide awareness training, which is open to everyone. We especially encourage attendance from those whose work is likely to bring them into contact with people who may be vulnerable to suicide or self-harm. 

If you have found your way to this website because you are in distress, and may be thinking of taking your own life, then please do seek help urgently. The   Help in a crisis section suggests some useful sources of help and support.