Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 49 and under and the leading cause of death in people aged 20–34 years in the UK.
It is widely recognised that suicides are preventable. A local level Suicide Prevention Strategy has been developed to present a set of priority areas for action in West Sussex for 2017 to 2020 that are aligned with national strategic priorities. These are:
- Focus on reducing suicides in vulnerable middle aged and older people, particularly those experiencing financial difficulties and social isolation
- Focus on preventing suicides in people in contact with mental health services, particularly those recently discharged or disengaged from care
- Focus on preventing suicide in people who misuse alcohol or drugs, particularly those with a dual diagnosis
- Focus on reducing self-harm, particularly in young people
- Focus on preventing suicide in people with long term conditions or requiring end of life care, and their carers
- Improve support for people bereaved or affected by suicide
- Increase confidence and skills of paid and volunteer workers to support people at risk of suicide, maximising the use of existing resources and support
- Reduce access to the means of suicide, focusing on self-poisoning, railways and other public places
- Monitor suicide patterns and trends in West Sussex
This strategy was based on evidence drawn from the West Sussex Suicide Audit (2017), engagement with front-line workers via an online consultation, a brief review of effective models of suicide prevention and local level analysis of emergency hospital admissions for self-harm.
The multi-agency West Sussex Suicide Prevention Steering Group was set up to coordinate local implementation of the national strategy ‘Preventing Suicides in England’. This group will oversee and support development and delivery of the local strategic action plan which addresses each of the above priorities. The strategy will be formerly signed off by the Health and Wellbeing Board in November 2017 and action plan will be available in 2018.