On Friday 22nd March, 200 health and care staff came together to develop a joined-up plan to prevent suicide across the Black County and West Birmingham. The suicide prevention event focussed on how everyone can work together to reduce access to means of suicide and provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide. The event recognised the need to work together to build the resilience and capability of local services and communities to prevent suicide in the Black Country and West Birmingham.
The whole community approach to suicide prevention is part of national ambition to co-ordinate Zero Suicide plans across the country, ensuring that suicide prevention truly becomes everyone’s business.
Lesley Writtle, Chief Executive at Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said; "It is clear that we need to be ambitious with our work to prevent suicides in our communities. We all have a part to play and by working together, we can focus our efforts and develop an open and honest approach that will challenge some of the myths and stigma surrounding this difficult subject."
In 2017, there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland, with men three times as likely to take their own lives as women in the UK(1).
Dr Mark Weaver, Medical Director at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said; "Suicide has a devastating and enduring impact on families and communities. This is why health and care services in the Black Country and West Birmingham must work together to raise awareness amongst staff, as well as people working in the wider system to develop a joined-up approach to suicide prevention.
The event was an important opportunity for all staff and partners to agree priorities for how we can collectively tackle stigma and isolation, improve the quality of mental health support and provide better access to employment, housing and benefits, as well as ensuring that there are safe non-judgemental places in the community where people can receive compassion and support."
Last year, the NHS set out clear recommendations on suicide prevention and reduction, and made a commitment to reduce suicides by 10% nationally by 2020/21. Alongside this, was a zero suicide ambition for mental health inpatients, with organisations taking action to improve the quality and safety of their mental health services.
If you or anyone you know is having a difficult time or is struggling to cope, please call Samaritans free on 116 123.