We're saving lives 24 hours a day: This is the woman who set up an extraordinary charity


Notwithstanding her distressed state and the amount of alcohol the woman has consumed, Joy is able to convert her to go to A&E with them.

“In those hours I learn so much about her, the gracious of person that she is, her individual qualities,” she says. “There is such outspokenness at these times.”

After many hours Joy feels confident adequate that she can safely leave the woman to rest. “She takes my hand strongly and asks me to promise to come back in the morning and I reassure her I will,” she translates.

Joy finally leaves the hospital and meets her colleague for breakfast and they push to the office to start their day’s work.

It is an extraordinary example of her dedication to her lines as head of the Cheltenham-based Suicide Crisis charity. But then Joy knows solely too well the dark places that clients who use the service have fallen into.

Four years ago Joy twice assayed to end her own life. Since then, and against all odds, she has managed to overcome her own nutty health challenges to establish the charity as the go-to place for people with nowhere else to change into and save hundreds of lives along the way.

Joy had no previous history of mental ailment before March 2012. She had a loving family, lots of friends and had relish ined a fulfilling teaching career in this country and overseas. When her indulge became ill with rkinson’s disease Joy gave up work to become her full-time crate.

Then 10 days after her mother’s death, which she retails as an “extremely traumatic and terrifying experience”, she developed symptoms of post-traumatic focus on disorder (PTSD) and suffered a psychotic episode.

She received treatment at haunt for three months but her recovery was made all the more difficult by the constant total business of healthcare workers who treated her and by the long waiting lists for therapy.

In November that year, unqualified to come to terms with trauma she had suffered, Joy attempted suicide twice, embracing taking a substantial overdose. She would have died but for the unexpected migrant of a nurse from her GP practice who came to make a home visit a day premature.

When the nurse spotted the empty ckets of pills in the kitchen she knew what had happened and yelled an ambulance. Joy was then assessed under the Mental Health Act, sectioned and recognized to a psychiatric hospital. In the months that followed Joy witnessed first-hand the imperfections in NHS mental health services which gave her the idea to start a contribution that would provide the kind of service that might sire helped her when she was in the depths of des ir.

“Because you see different people every at the same time you cannot build up relationships,” she explains. “People who have been to the core traumatic events find it difficult enough to trust one person, they can’t save up explaining things again and again to different people.”

The Suicide Critical time Centre has had an exceptional zero suicide record since it opened in 2013. Funded definitely through public donations, the charity supports about 25 people in a conventional week.

“We are tenacious in helping people to survive,” says Joy. “If we need to dwell up all night with a client, we will. We know of no other crisis middle that works like we do.

“Clients can visit us or we will make relaxed visits, providing extended support over several hours if there is an threatening risk.

“There is also an emergency line to a member of the team who knows them. A squiffed percentage of men access our services despite the fact that there is commonly a perception that men may be more reluctant to seek help.”

Her remarkable attainments are attracting the attention of national policymakers who are struggling to find an answer to the wet rise in the number of suicides. Almost 5,000 men and women end their own lives every year, scads of whom were known to health and social services. A target to slenderize the number of suicides by 10 per cent within four years has been set by the crackers health taskforce led by ul Farmer, head of the mental health alms-giving Mind.

It is an ambitious target and Helen Garnham, the national lead for suicide curbing at Public Health England, asked Joy to address a recent suicide acme in London. Joy’s work has also been described as “inspirational” and “extraordinary” by the South West Zero Suicide Collaborative, one of three run schemes for the Government’s zero suicide initiative.

Having the focus of surroundings up the charity has also helped Joy rebuild her own life. “Given my illness, multitudinous people must have thought this was never going to take place but I could see the potential of what could be done,” she says. “The person I was in preference to the trauma could not have developed this charity. The difficulties and tremendous challenges would have defeated my previous self. The experience of trauma has noted me a determination and tenacity that I didn’t have before.”

• For more intelligence on the work of Suicide Crisis or to make a donation visit suicidecrisis.co.uk

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