Our aspiration is for Cheshire and Merseyside to be a region where all suicides are prevented, where people do not consider suicide as a solution to the difficulties they face and where people have hope for the future.
For more information, visit www.no-more.co.uk
Why is it important?
Preventing suicide is achievable
Sadly, 278 Cheshire & Merseyside residents took their own life in 2021
For each death at least 10 people are significantly impacted, equating to 2,780 people in 2021. But new research indicates that as many as 135 people are impacted by each suicide, as many as 37,530 people in 2021 may have been affected.
Suicide prevention and COVID-19
We need to talk about suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a rise in suicide is not inevitable and it is important not to speculate on links between COVID-19 and suicides. We must guard against sensationalist media coverage of suicide deaths that may increase risk in vulnerable people.
We do know that people’s emotional and mental wellbeing may be under particular stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting individuals, from young children to the elderly.
The COVID-19 pandemic emphasises that need to support people in finding solutions to their problems and to communicate more broadly the resources, tools and local services provision that can build individual and community resilience. Where feasible programmes are now being provided in a virtual/online format, some face to face programmes have been temporarily halted. Additional activity has been commissioned to meet growing demand for key messaging on looking after mental health and preventing suicide, such as the Kind to Your Mind campaign.
Strong partnership efforts to maintain and enhance the psychological support for communities across C&M will be vital in the recovery phase from this pandemic as psychological effects will vary in strength and duration.
Suicide Prevention Strategy
Preventing suicidal behaviour in the first-place is our goal. Building individual and community resilience is the sustainable approach to changing suicidal behaviour and improved mental health.
We know that men and those from more deprived neighbourhoods are less likely to seek help, that stigma can stop people voicing their concerns and yet conversely following a suicide attempt many people turn to family, friends and neighbours for support.
Key actions towards preventing suicides locally are:
- Creating Suicide Safer Communities
- Lived Experience Networks
- Awareness campaigns- Stay Alive App, Kind to your mind, Let’s keep talking
- Media work with the Samaritans
- Suicide prevention training for all
- Middle-aged men community programmes
- Preventing deaths in public places
- Preventing deaths in those bereaved by suicide
Suicide Safer Care Services
Poor mental and physical health are key risk factors for suicidal behaviour. Whilst there has been much progress in mental health and primary care to identify patients at risk and ensure their safety, more can be done. The National Confidential Inquiry (2016) reported on evidence that helps in identifying what works in lowering the suicide rate both in mental health services and across healthcare generally.
Key actions towards preventing suicides in services locally are:
- Mental health patient’s safety
- Primary care prevention pilot
- Self-harm prevention
- Working links with C&M MH Crisis Care Concordat actions
- Working links with Places of Safety provision across C&M
Support After Suicide
Those bereaved by suicide have three times the risk of dying from suicide themselves. Alleviating the distress of those bereaved or affected by suicide reduces this risk and the risk for communities of suicide clusters or contagion and promotes healthy recovery of the affected community.
Key actions towards preventing suicides in those bereaved and affected are:
- Suicide liaison service provision
- Peer support, such as the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)
- Bereavement counselling
- Community Response Planning
Intelligence and Research
Multi-agency intelligence sharing, learning and research provides us with a better understanding of the needs of different populations at risk of suicide. Intelligence and research driven interventions and services to prevent suicides support the optimum means of us reaching the zero suicide goal.
Key actions to improve our access to reliable and current data are:
- Suicide Audits
- Real Time Surveillance
- Performance monitoring
Liverpool John Moores University Suicide & Self-harm Research Group (SSHRG)
The SSHRG looks at conducting psychological research into suicide and self-harm. It is comprised of a group of academics, research staff and postgraduate students whose research covers a wide variety of suicide and self-harm research about individuals, communities and populations. Click here to see their ongoing work.
The Suicide Prevention Partnership Board drives the strategy. The Board provides strong leadership and strategic oversight in advancing support and advocacy for suicide prevention across Cheshire & Merseyside. The Board has a multi-agency membership chaired by Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health, St Helens Council.
Leadership in the nine Local Authorities across Cheshire & Merseyside is provided by the Chair of each local group, supported by the work of the local authority suicide prevention leads.
Key actions in leadership and sustaining a co-ordinated approach to suicide prevention are:
- The Suicide Prevention Partnership Board that meets three times per year
- Strategic engagement with the Integrated Care System, Mental Health Oversight Board, the Sub-regional Crisis Care Concordat and local Health & Wellbeing Boards
- Strategic engagement with the Zero Suicide Alliance and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance
- Oversight and co-ordination of the Task Groups
Ruth du Plessis, Chair of The Suicide Prevention Partnership Board and Director of Public Health for St Helens
Elected Member Lead
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council