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James’ Place is today publishing the findings of an evaluation of its work to help men in suicidal crisis. The first James’ Place opened in Liverpool two years ago and has so far helped over 400 men.

The academic evaluation, led by Dr Pooja Saini from Liverpool John Moores University, recognised the positive impact of the charity’s therapeutic model to men experiencing a suicidal crisis and their families.

Suicide among men is a major public health problem and is the single leading cause of death among men under the age of 50 and for young people aged 20-34 years in the UK.

Suitable support for men in suicidal crisis is vital; yet service provision is lacking, particularly within community settings.

“I might not be talking to you now. So that’s the sort of impact that it’s had.” – Man who used James’ Place

James’ Place’s Liverpool centre is the first of its kind in the UK, delivering interventions by trained therapists to men who are experiencing a suicidal crisis. The individual might be experiencing intense and distressing suicidal thoughts, perhaps feelings of hopelessness and despair, and they may intend to, or have made plans to, act on their suicidal thoughts.

The therapists at James’ Place use clear, everyday language to help men understand how they have reached crisis, and what is keeping it going. Importantly the men learn new ways of coping that will help if they are faced with a similar set of circumstances in the future.

For this evaluation, a set of items defining suicidal distress were measured before and after men engaged with therapy at James’ Place. All men who took part experienced a clinically and statistically significant positive change as a result of James’ Place’s intervention.

During the interviews, men described how James’ Place enabled them to feel safe and cared for and provided an environment in which they could speak to someone about their problems.

All of the men interviewed described how James’ Place had increased their feelings of hope, improved relationships with family members, and ultimately reduced suicidal thoughts. Most of the men spoke about being in suicidal crisis and described how they were not sure where they would have gone for help if James’ Place was not there and that, ultimately, they may not have survived.

“I think at first, I was feeling like, “There is no point in doing this because I’m broken,” but you get quite comfortable after a while, just chatting, and then you realise that sometimes just the process of talking to someone can help. It’s not necessarily as though they click a reset button. It’s comfort and it’s mostly knowing that you’ve got someone on your side that didn’t need to be. If I talk to my mum about my problems, she has to stick up for me but it’s nice to have someone on your team.” – Man who used James’ Place

The evaluation has shown that James’ Place is making a significant difference to individuals, their families, their communities and the wider system. James’ Place provides a substantial social value by improving men’s wellbeing and contributes to a wide range of stakeholders, including family members, friends, statutory and non-statutory services (including the NHS, welfare services), employers and education establishments.

Clare Milford Haven, Co-Founder and Trustee of James’ Place said:

‘James’ Place was set up so that men could find the help they need when they face a suicidal crisis. The publication of the first evaluation of our model is an important step for the charity. I am so proud of all that has been accomplished. We hope that our efforts will help inform services, prevent suicide and save lives.’

Jane Boland, Clinical Lead and Centre Manager of James’ Place said:

‘The work we do at James’ Place is unique in many ways. We have developed an innovative intervention to support men through a suicidal crisis. The aim is to reduce their distress, promote resilience and understanding while maintaining their safety. Our trained therapists work collaboratively with each individual to support their specific needs. Men who visit James’ Place often say that they were pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the team and the place. It is truly inspiring to follow the men on their journey to find hope for the future.’

Dr Pooja Saini, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University said:

‘This first evaluation shows evidence that the James’ Place’s model has a positive impact on the lives of men who are experiencing a suicidal crisis and that it significantly improves their clinical outcomes. These findings can inform future service implementation to reach a male population group that is at high risk of suicide.’

Ellen O’Donoghue, CEO of James’ Place said:

‘The publication of our first evaluation marks an important milestone for James’ Place. We now have evidence that our approach to prevent suicide works and we are so happy to be sharing our findings. Our work to help men in suicidal crisis is vital and we plan to open more centres across the UK, starting with a new James’ Place in East London.’

The evaluation report can be accessed on James’ Place’s website:
https://www.jamesplace.org.uk/evaluation/