AN ORGANISATION supporting those with first hand experience of suicide has received a £30,000 award.

Grassroots Suicide Prevention in Old Steine, Brighton, a charity that works to prevent suicide through education and technology, has won funding for its efforts to help those affected and train others working in mental health.

It was one of the ten winners of this year’s GSK Impact Awards, run by the King’s Fund, which offers funding for charities working to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Stella Comber, chief executive of Grassroots, said the charity was recognised for its innovation.

It has developed an award-winning mobile phone app called Stay Alive, which aims to help people having thoughts of suicide or those concerned about someone who may be at risk.

It includes a range of resources, such as direct dial through to national and local crisis resources, a safety plan and articles dispelling common myths about suicide. The app has been downloaded 90,000 times.

Stella said: “We are absolutely thrilled and over the moon about this support we have received.

“It has been quite a process to build up Grassroots to this standard and it is really rewarding to have been officially recognised and supported for all our work.

“They were really impressed with our innovations.”

Staff at Grassroots have trained about 14,000 people in the community to support those with suicidal thoughts and offer support to those living with friends or family affected by it.

She said: “Suicide is an issue that affects us all. It comes into our lives uninvited and leaves individuals and whole communities devastated.

“Our approach is built on the belief that suicide is preventable and that we can all make a difference by having open and courageous conversations. We need everyone to know that while thoughts of suicide can feel overwhelming, they will pass, and recovery is possible.”

Lisa Weaks, of The King’s Fund, said: “Grassroots is a small charity which is having a big impact. By tackling the stigma surrounding suicide and helping people in the community to spot the signs and offer support to those around them, Grassroots has begun to change the conversation and make sure that help is there for people when they need it the most.

“The judging panel were impressed by the charity’s app, which has been used by tens of thousands of people, and the excellent work they are doing to connect people with other charities, crisis centres and the NHS.”