Edge Hill University A team from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire, is to a deliver a mental health training programme focused on interventions for those who have attempted suicide for nurses in Mysore, India. 

The training will be in one of the worst-affected regions of the country with the world’s highest suicide rate, according to a World Health Organisation report in 2012.

There is an acute shortage of mental health trained professionals in Mysore: 2,000-2,500 people are referred each year after suicide attempts to just two doctors.

Alongside colleagues in the region, Edge Hill Faculty of Health and Social Care staff have secured funding from Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) to implement and deliver a mental health training programme for general hospital staff, and research the effectiveness of the interventions.

The partnership between Edge Hill’s Faculty of Health, Dr Mirali Krishna at CSI Holdsworth Memorial Hospital (pictured, right with Steve Jones) and Professor Rajendra at Mysore Medical College and Research Institute was initially forged in 2012 and in early 2014 Edge Hill Senior Lecturers Paul Keenan and Steve Jones visited Mysore again to build upon scoping work conducted after THET granted initial start-up funding in 2012.  

“Attempted suicide is illegal in India and mental health issues are heavily stigmatised, and we have found that while nurses are well-equipped to provide physical treatment and care for patients, they have limited knowledge of mental health needs,” explained Jones. “We hope to address the pressing need for the nurses to gain more knowledge and skills in this area.” 

Keenan and Jones will return to India in 2015 and 2016 to train 100 staff across both hospital sites in completing mental health assessments and developing treatment plans for those who have attempted to take their lives. A further 40 staff will then be trained to become trainers themselves and cascade their knowledge throughout the hospitals. 

“The project aims to raise the profile of mental health care, raise care standards and reduce the stigma within the hospital sites,” added Keenan. “We anticipate that the benefits will eventually extend to other institutions and have a greater impact in the long-term.”