For 9 years, Stephen was Chairman of PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide following the death by suicide of his only child Christopher in 2009. He stepped down from this role in 2019.
Before this, Stephen spent almost 30 years in the Prison Service as a prison governor working in many prisons and has spent two periods in the Home Office as an advisor. For some years he was Head of Prisoner Escort and Custody Service, responsible for all prisoner movement in England and Wales, and responsible for the care of prisoners whilst at court. His final role with the Prison Service was to lead a project to close prisons that were no longer fit for purpose and this led to the closure of seven prisons.
He has also undertaken several additional roles, including:
- As an Expert Adviser to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). He has been involved with NICE in the development of a Guideline for Nurse Staffing levels in in-patient Health Care, The Mental Health Care of those in the Criminal Justice System, and a Guideline on Suicide Prevention in the Community and Custody Settings. He was a lay member of the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee, which approves the introduction of new technologies to the health and care services, until November 2023.
- He was an Advisor to the Board of the charity ‘Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide’.
He currently holds the following roles:
- He is a public committee member on the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research committee, and reviews and provides comments on health and social care research funding applications. He is a member of the NIHR Academy of Public Members, which leads on public involvement.
- Also, he delivers training input to mental health staff, nurses, and GPs on suicide prevention and regularly speaks to parents who have lost young people to suicide.
- He has been a member of Making Families Count since it was first established and is currently one of our Directors.
- He is also an ordained Anglican Priest and is currently an assistant Priest in the parish of Eccleshall in the Diocese of Lichfield.
He is passionate about improving mental health services for young people, increasing awareness of young suicide, reducing stigma, and reducing the number of young people who take their own life each year.