Olly’s Future gains BMA funding for Dr. SAMS (Suicide Awareness in Medical Students) for the third year running

National young suicide prevention charity, Olly’s Future, has received a grant from the British Medical Association to deliver its pioneering suicide prevention initiative, Dr. SAMS (Suicide Awareness in Medical Students) to hundreds of medical students as part of their core curriculum.

The initiative gives doctors-of-the-future the skills to recognise when a fellow student or patient is having thoughts of suicide and the skills to ask about suicide in a sensitive and non-judgemental way. The programme also includes elements of reflective practice and self-care for trainee doctors.

This week, data presented at the European Symposium on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour suicide and suicidal behavior, 2022 (Uchida et, al. 2017) in Copenhagen showed that medical students and doctors are at greater risk of suicide than other students and vocations. 

Ann Feloy, Chair of Olly’s Future, along with friends of her son Oliver Hare, set up the charity in his memory after he died by suicide in 2017 aged 22. She developed Dr SAMS (Suicide Awareness in Medical Students) after qualifying as an ASIST trainer (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and talking to GPs as part of her work for Health Education England.

Olly’s Future is delighted to receive funding from the BMA for this initiative for the third year running. My vision is for every medical school in the country to embed Dr SAMS in their curriculum so our GPs of tomorrow have the skills and knowledge to look after themselves and their patients with care and compassion to the best of their ability, thus ultimately saving lives from suicide.”

Ann Feloy, Chair of Olly’s Future

There is more demand for this initiative to be delivered nationally than the charity is able to meet. The charity will be launching a campaign to raise funds to deliver these essential life-saving skills to more medical students on September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day.

Emma Baars, Olly’s Future CEO

“We equip medical students with essential skills to help patients and prevent future burnout and reduce suicides in qualified doctors in years to come. Sadly, suicide prevention skills are not part of the core curriculum at many medical schools, and we want to change that. In the meantime, we’re reaching out to people to support our campaign.”

Dame Parveen Kumar, Chair of the BMA Giving committee said:  

“Our motto at the BMA is ‘we look after doctors so they can look after you. BMA Giving allows us to help both doctors and their patients – whether it is offering reproductive health knowledge to asylum seekers or helping doctors protect against mental health problems and suicide, these grants are a recognition that doctors are only as strong as their support network. The amazing and inspiring work of these charities shows the generosity of spirit that reflects the best of the medical profession, and it is a privilege to support them as chair of this committee.”

More information – https://ollysfuture.org.uk/dr-sams-suicide-awareness-in-medical-students/

Full press release – https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/bma-gifts-125-000-to-charitable-bodies

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