November 2016: Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, the first mental health trust in the country to publicly commit to a zero suicide policy, speaks at the Northern Ireland Annual Suicide Prevention Conference in Belfast. While at the conference he meets another delegate, Steve Mallen, the founder of the MindEd Trust, who spoke about his own experiences following the tragic death of his son, Edward, by suicide. The pair pledged to do something that would challenge the suicide prevention system in the UK. Geraldine Strathdee, the former mental health lead for NHS England, and Elaine Darbyshire, Executive Director of Communications and Governance, at Mersey Care also became founder members in the coming months.
October 2017: Working alongside Relias UK, the UK’s leading training provider, clinicians from Mersey Care and those who have survived suicide, a 20 minute free suicide prevention training course is completed. A social media campaign is prepared to coincide with the ZSA launch the following month.
November 2017: Many months of lobbying MPs and Government results in cross-party political support and the launch of the Zero Suicide Alliance at the House of Commons. The launch is attended by MPs from all parties with the ZSA setting out its objective to work ‘together to use the best prevention evidence to immediately reduce the number of suicides in this country.’ They also aim to get a million people to access the training.
September 2018: The ZSA teams up with Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to urge businesses across the North West to take the training to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
October 2018: Prime Minister Theresa May MP announces pledges to award the ZSA £2 million over the next two years to improve suicide awareness and training and the development of an innovative digital suicide prevention resource and exploration of cutting edge analytics to predict risk.
January 2019: The ZSA, Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool, and local MP Luciana Berger, send an open letter to all the major broadcasters in the country to reconsider the way they refer to mental health issues, which has recently been highlighted by Ava Max’s No 1 single, ‘Sweet but Psycho.’
June 2019: Jackie Doyle-Price, the Minister for Suicide Prevention, writes to all the MPs within the House of Commons to complete the ZSA’s free suicide prevention training course. The Government also announce that all 1.2 million NHS staff will be encouraged to take the training
September 2019: The ZSA wins its fifth award of the year, winning the Excellence in Communication and Engagement category at the Forward Healthcare Awards. It follows the Public Sector Content Campaign of the Year in the UK Content Awards, The Engage Award for best use of training, the Northern Digital Awards best digital marketing campaign and the PR Moment Award for Best Not for Profit Campaign.
December 2019: Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and co-founder of the ZSA, is awarded a CBE for services towards suicide prevention in the New Year’s Honours List.