About Us

Suicide is a global issue, that takes someone’s life every 40 seconds. It’s the biggest killer of young people and men under fifty, yet two-thirds of people who take their own lives do not approach their GP or health professional. We believe it doesn’t have to be this way and that suicide is preventable.

Action To Prevent Suicide CIC is a not-for-profit community interest company whose vision is for a life-affirming world free from suicide. We wish to prevent suicide by helping people recognise and support those at risk, whilst also raising awareness and breaking the stigma. Our shared aim is to achieve this through training, advice, collaboration and guidance.

We’re a member organisation of:

  • The Devon and Torbay Suicide Prevention Alliance (DTSPA) – an alliance of local organisations dedicated to suicide prevention and after-care for those bereaved by suicide.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) – an alliance of public, private and voluntary organisations in England who care about suicide prevention and are willing to take individual and collective action to reduce suicide and support those bereaved or affected by suicide.

Meet the team

Chukumeka Maxwell

Founding Director
About Chukes
For the last 9 years, Chukumeka has worked for the NHS as a Community Development Worker, Equality and Diversity Adviser and in health promotion as a trainer and Health Improvement Specialist. He co-authored a chapter in a book aimed at GP’s working with mental health across different cultures and is a registered Social Worker (MBASW). A part-time lecturer at the University of Plymouth, Chukumeka is a suicide prevention trainer specialising in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer (ASIST) and SafeTalk as developed by LivingWorks.

Andy Johnson

About Andy
I am an experienced former Senior Police Officer with a demonstrated history of achieving results across the Corporate and Public Sector in the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. My passion is for helping and protecting vulnerable people and communities. I am a skilled negotiator in Hostage and Crisis Intervention and hold a MSc in criminology focused in Community Safety from the University of Leicester.

Debbie Williams

Director & Trainer
About Debbie

After 35 year in the Fire Service in the South West, Debbie has left this behind to concentrate on working to support those affected by mental ill health and suicide.

During her time in the blue light service, she worked in a variety of roles including emergency call handler, Partnership Officer, Community Engagement & Equalities officer. For 30 years of her service, she was a staff supporter (listening ear) for Colleagues.

Her passion to support others with their well-being is as a result of her own lived experience in 2008.

Debbie is a Director of Recovery Devon, a community interest company which

supports people with their mental health and recovery (recoverydevon.co.uk) as well as a Trainer with the Devon Recovery Learning Community (devonrlc.co.uk).

She is the National Wellbeing Officer for her representative body The Fire Officers’ Association (www.fireofficers.org.uk ) and is on the steering group of The UK National Work-Stress Network ( www.workstress.net ). Debbie is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and has completed the Applied suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). She is also a SafeTalk trainer.

Debbie is married with 2 adult daughters. She enjoys walking & keeping fit, reading, all crafts and continuing to learn new skills. Anything involving music and dancing is high on her list of wellness activities and she has just joined a local choir. Languages & travel are important in her life and she hopes to travel into Europe next year in their motorhome.

Martin Beat

About Martin

Martin is passionate about supporting people at risk of Suicide and joins the collaborative team as a director. He further states

“I am committed to exploring how working with trees and wood can bring people together into the joy of the present moment.

I have worked at Ruskin Mill, Gloucestershire, as a woodland tutor with young people. My emphasis is not on being good at something but on the enjoyment of experience. Working with head, heart and hands is central to my approach.

My undergraduate degree in English Lit. studied at Oxford University has left me with an appreciation for the spoken and written beauty of words and thoughts.

Working with trees and wood for the last 12 years has given me a confidence and knowledge of technique and skill that I love to share and so develop and learn.

BA hons (2:1) English Literature (Oxford University) NVQ 3 in Health and Social Care

Art and Design Foundation Diploma (Plymouth College of Art and Design)

Sara-Jayne Phillips

About Sara-Jayne

I lost my husband Murray to suicide in 2017. After 36 years together. He was my rock, my soul mate and I adored him. I had never really been an adult without him in my life. My life has been devastated and for a while I lost all sense of purpose and identity. It has been a long and difficult journey to start to live again but in order to do that I first had to try to find answers about why this happened to our family and how we could have prevented it . I discovered the awful reality of how many other families, like mine, are affected by suicide and began to make sense of how suicide affects even the strongest, most loved people with everything to live for.

Through counselling and the help and support of some amazing friends, I have come through some very dark times and come to understand that there is a lot that needs to be done and can be done to reach people who have lost their way, are vulnerable or lost hope. I am planning on becoming a trainer for Safe Talk and Assist courses and using my experience to help anyone else affected by suicide.

My full time job is as a freelance vision mixer in television. I have worked across all genres of TV production over the last 30 years and have been lucky enough to have an exciting and fulfilling career which has taken me all over the world.

I have 2 amazing adult children. I love yoga, painting, walking & I plan to learn to sail next year.

Partners, Trainers and Advisers

Jan Pritchard

Trainer and Schools Project Manager
About Jan
Jan has a background as an administrator within the NHS, working in many areas of the health service, most recently in the South Devon & Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group. During her time in the NHS, she studied to become a counsellor and became involved in suicide prevention, going on to become a trainer for ASIST and safeTALK. Jan left the NHS in January this year with a view to becoming more involved in suicide prevention and raising awareness of suicide. She is now the local representative for the Devon and Torbay Suicide Prevention Alliance and is passionate about mental health and wellbeing, especially within children and young people. Jan is also a Papyrus Champion.

Lydia Tewkesbury

Social Media & Comms
About Lydia
Lydia is an editorial assistant and feature writer whose work has been published in Devon Life magazine and multiple other Archant Life titles. She is currently helping us with our communications and marketing. An experienced social media manager, Lydia works hard to connect people with services they need the most.

Chris Lorimor

Senior Advisor


Administration & Events
About Sylvia
Sylvia is an adventurous and caring free-spirited being, working in the local community within various projects relating to the environment, health and wellbeing. She has volunteered in varying organisations around the world and feels a strong need to help the planet and people, which has led her to work with Action To Prevent Suicide .She has vast amounts of expertise in project and events management and loves to be in the heart of organising just about anything. She’s in her utmost element when spreading her wings in nature, hiking up the highest of mountains and diving to the depths of the ocean.

Belinda Seaward

About Belinda
Belinda Seaward lost a close friend to suicide and has given a TEDx talk about her experience. She is a director of Horsemanship for Health UK, a Newton Abbot Community Interest Company that offers equine-guided education, health and well-being courses to support people through mental health challenges. Belinda is a qualified teacher with a degree in Philosophy and Psychology. She has 20 years’ of teaching, mentoring and facilitating experience. As well as teaching adult groups, she coaches young people in schools. She is trained in suicide first aid with ASIST.

John Woolner

About John
I am a UKCP registered systemic couple and family therapist.

In 2000, I qualified with an MSc in systemic psychotherapy, with a distinction for clinical practice. I continue to run a private practice, lecture on the MA and BA Social work programmes at Plymouth University, lecture for the Frontline Social work programme, am a specialist lay member sitting for the Mental Health Review Tribunal service and am in practice part-time as a systemic psychotherapist with the NHS in adult mental health.

For the last eighteen years I have been delivering training in systemic theory and practice. This has included training for Relate counsellors, Frontline social work practitioners, junior doctors/psychiatrists, child protection social workers on behalf of the Institute of Family Therapy, and to consultant social workers in local authorities across the UK, adopting the ‘Reclaiming Social Work’ model, on behalf of Morning Lane Associates.

I am very enthusiastic about systems theory as it applies to human relationships, and to exploring interventions that bring about lasting change at the level of meaning and understanding. I consider delivering training to be a two-way process. We learn from each other. I have supervised, provided training for, and facilitated away days for, various organisations – such as Relate, Action against Domestic Violence and Abuse, Force Cancer charity and Family Matters.

I have great enthusiasm for the work I do, considering systemic theory as a way of making sense of our social worlds. It is at the heart of the way I think and act.

I have delivered workshops in creative writing in psychiatric hospitals, and am a keen writer myself.

Tina Teague

About Tina
Tina Teague is managing director of General Practice Solutions (GPS) – an independent management consultancy. GPS helps health and social care organisations run more effectively, maximise their resources and respond to changes in the sector.

Before launching GPS, Tina spent 16 years working for the NHS. In that time, she held a range of senior commissioning positions with clinical commissioning groups and primary care trusts. These included the lead commissioner role for cardiovascular disease. Tina also has experience in the acute sector, having carried out strategic operational roles within oncology and cardiology services.

Until July 2019 Tina was Chief Executive of East Devon Health a federation of 13 GP practices, which provides services for 120,000 patients. Furthermore, Tina has developed a professional coaching practice.

This experience has provided Tina with a comprehensive understanding of health and social care structures, policies and operations. She has a proven track-record of helping organisations perform better and improve the services they provide to patients.

Tina is a self-motivated, confident leader and thrives in a challenging environment –
qualities that were recognised as she reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Devon and
Cornwall Business Mother of the Year Awards.

Courtney Buckler

LGBTQ Advisor & Supporter
About Courtney
Courtney is an activist and PhD student. She has experienced many periods of feeling suicidal and various attempts at ending her own life, knowing first-hand how vital it is that communities are equipped with the resources and resilience to take steps towards healing. Courtney recognises that all struggles are interconnected, and acts as the LGBTQIA+ and youth advisor for Action to Prevent Suicide. Courtney’s research focusses on how people with depression make sense of their experiences. Courtney also has a Law Degree and experience offering legal/strategic support to start ups and social enterprises. She is inspired by the grassroots, localised action of Action to prevent Suicide and is trained in both SafeTalk and ASIST.

Jenny Pickup

ASIST safetalk Consultant UK wide
About Jenny
Jenny has over 22 years of experience working with suicide prevention and mental health. She is currently working in a dedicated quality assurance role to support an international network of ASIST trainers. Reviewing ASIST trainer reports and participant feedback with a view to offering timely and appropriate support, feedback and encouragement to trainers.

She also delivers Applied Suicide Intervention Training (ASIST) Training for Trainers to participants from all kinds of backgrounds. Offering support to new ASIST trainers.

Alice Newton-Leeming

National North West
About Alison
Alice has over 10 years experience within the Mental Health field, having volunteered for the Samaritans, BeatBullying, worked for Victim Support and PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide. Alice is particularly knowledgeable about prevention of suicide, supporting and empowering vulnerable persons. Alice is also passionate about building skills in the community, by training others in mental health awareness, self harm and suicide prevention.

Dr Isobel Russell

National North and North East
About Isobel
Izzy Russell is a freelance ASIST trainer and regularly forms a happily married training team with Andrew Russell! She has delivered over twenty ASIST courses. Izzy’s background is in teaching, but she has been interested in mental health issues for many years. Her experience of helping children in families who lost someone to suicide was what gave her a passion to save lives from suicide.

Izzy is based in the north-east of England but has trained all over the country with Andrew. As a teacher, she loves to see participants grow and develop over the two days of ASIST and nothing delights her more than hearing that one of her participants has used their skills.

Andrew Rusell

National and North East
About Andrew
North and East England freelance Trainer and Social Care Consultant specialising in Suicide Prevention & Mental Health. A social worker with 38 years experience, many in mental health settings, and still registered to practice.

Now concentrating on delivering great training courses that make a difference and can save lives. He has delivered nearly 200 courses across ASIST, MHFA, safeTALK, suicideTALK, WRAP, so plenty of experience. He mainly delivers ASIST (Applied Suicide intervention skills) Workshops (LivingWorks Silver recognition) but also holds the Gold Award with Mental Health First Aid England and has delivered safeTALK courses. He is based in the North Of England but trains throughout the Country. He describes himself as a suicide prevention ‘activist’ on Twitter (@anr1102).

Alan Dagg

Senior Training Coach – NI
About Alan
Alan is a retired United States Navy Chief Petty Officer and has been working with statutory and volunteer organisations in creating & sustaining suicide safer communities for over 30 years. He continues that work in his new hometown of Bangor, Northern Ireland. Alan is involved in coproducing educational programmes and providing innovative, engaging, skills-based training.

Alan is an ASIST Senior Training Coach with LivingWorks Education and has been training formal & informal caregivers in ASIST & safeTALK for the past 10 years. He is also a tutor for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Recovery College and delivers community training in SuicideTALK & TuneUp in Northern Ireland. Alan provides support to the global network of LivingWorks trainers and he also mentors trainers in his home community.

Nick Brown

National – London SE
About Nick

Is a freelance Trainer & Coach specialising in Suicide Prevention & Mental Health.

He has been a Trainer, Counsellor and Facilitator for over 20 years. His background includes working for multinational companies BT and Philips Electronics as a Human Resources Professional. He worked for 10 years at Workability, a Community Mental Health project in Brighton.where he developed my passion for helping people in their recovery from Mental Health difficulties. In the past years he has delivered Mental Health First courses (including MHFA Lite) to organisations such as Unilever, Ernst & Young, and NHS England, and to a variety of voluntary/community groups. In addition to being a member of the National Training Team for MHFA England he is an International Training Coach for LivingWorks Education who design and distribute highly effective Suicide Prevention Training. He delivers these courses in the UK and overseas.

He also train new trainers and coach them during their first few deliveries. I am a Workplace Associate for MHFA England where he is able to use his background in Human Resource Management and CIPD qualification. I worked for 10 years for a Community Mental Health Project based in Brighton I am also a qualified Counsellor and Teacher.

To relax he loves walking by the sea, live music events and spending time with family and friends.

Joyce Borgs

National – Wales
About Joyce
Joyce has over 11 year’s experience in suicide prevention and has worked in the charity sector for over 20years in a wide variety of roles. She has a background in health and wellbeing with a BA(Hon) Personal and Organisational Development. Joyce is also a qualified coach and is keenly interested in how people and organisations learn and develop. She manages a UK wide advisor service for Parkinson’s UK. Alongside this she also delivers ASIST training for trainers. Originally from the Netherlands Joyce is fluent in English, Dutch and German.

Supporters & Ambassadors

Frances Northrop

About Frances
Frances is a freelance consultant, working with communities as an adviser for the the NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme. She is also a Director of Totnes Community Development Society (an IPS ben com) which exists to hold land and buildings in community ownership for activities which meet the needs of residents. One of these projects is Atmos Totnes, the regeneration of an 8 acre ex brownfield site in Totnes as a mixed use development with truly affordable housing, enterprise and community space.

Suzie Mumme

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