1st Credit announces suicide prevention partnership

Ethical debt purchaser and credit management firm 1st Credit is to partner suicide prevention charity Grassroots in 2018 in a bid to improve the experiences of vulnerable customers.

With Grassroots as its chosen charity for 2018, 1st Credit, part of global credit management group Intrum, will train its own staff in suicide prevention as well as raising money and helping the charity increase its reach across the financial services sector.

The training is designed to ensure 1st Credit’s customer support representatives have the skills and confidence to handle calls with customers contemplating suicide.

1st Credit will also promote the StayAlive app to customers and their carers. The app is a free to download tool to help people who are suffering with thoughts of suicide and is a reminder to people for their own reasons for living. It also offers access to crisis support lines and a mini-safety plan for the individual.

Grassroots Chief Executive Stella Comber said: “We are delighted to be working with 1st Credit to support the implementation of their suicide awareness and training plan. We recognise debt and financial problems are known risk factors for suicide, and that these issues disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“Grassroots applauds 1st Credit’s commitment and efforts to addressing this issue in a practical and positive way.”

Eddie Nott, UK Managing Director for 1st Credit, said the taboo subject of suicide is too often overlooked when it comes to helping vulnerable customers. “Research suggests there is an awareness and skills gap in the debt collection industry when it comes to speaking to people who may be contemplating suicide.”

“In 2018, as part of our ongoing work around mental health, we are determined to enhance 1st Credit’s own knowledge and understanding of suicide both to help our customers and to assist Grassroots in spreading their training and support across the industry.”