South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw is one of the areas of the country that has a high suicide rate, particularly among men between the ages of 30 – 50, but there are things we can do to reduce the rate of suicide and partners across the ICS are working collaboratively to help achieve a reduction in death by suicide and a reduction in self-harm.
In May 2018, mental health services received £555,000 in order to help in the fight against suicide across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. The money will be spent on a number of initiatives including training staff to understand the tell-tale signs and to improve communication systems between organisations, so medical professionals can understand whether a patient is at risk of suicide when they come into contact with them. The main aim of suicide prevention work is to reduce the number of suicides in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw by 10 per cent.
Funding will be used to provide self-harm and suicide awareness training for all staff in GP practices which include how to intervene when suicide is suspected. Those who lose a loved one because of suicide will receive bespoke bereavement support. It is understood that those who have a family member who has taken their own life are more likely to do the same.
A large scale campaign on emotional wellbeing in men across SYB will be developed and specific work around key risk factors for suicide in men; such as debt, housing issues, substance misuse, relationship breakdown and loneliness will be undertaken.
Our efforts to undertake this work across the SYB geography will be done by focusing on these areas of work:
- Real time surveillance
- Bereavement support
- Work alongside the media
- Retrospective coroners audit
Real time survelliance
We recently held an event in association with the Innovation Unit about Real Time Surveillance. Real-time suicide surveillance is a system that enables consideration of interventions required after a death has occurred where the circumstances suggest suicide in advance of the coroner’s conclusion. This workshop involved a considerable number of partners from Trusts, CCGs, South Yorkshire Police and the British Transport Police.
This potential development is an innovative and forward thinking move for SYB by helping better understand the reasons someone may have taken their own life; provide those affected or bereaved by suicide timely and evidence based support and provide localities access to information to enable them to learn lessons to prevent further loss of life.
There are many individual risk factors for someone to take their own life. Research also indicates that deprivation, alcohol and drug usage can put someone at an increased risk. The fact is that not everyone who takes their own life is known to services or ever raised their mental health as a concern to a GP or Health Professional.
Of those that take their own life:
1/3 will have seen a mental health professional
1/3 will have seen their GP
1/3 will have seen no one
This really is everyone’s business and why partnerships with the voluntary and community sector, football clubs, prisons, workplaces and increasing community capacity is important to reach out to those who are potentially having mental health difficulties. No one should have no one, reducing loneliness and isolation and reducing the stigma around mental health difficulties should be everyone’s responsibility as part of their own wellbeing and that of others.
Helping Hands to offer support
- Dealing with the guilt of suicide
- Loneliness in older age
Nation Resources and Publications
Suicide Prevention Programme Newsletter February 2019