West Yorkshire and Harrogate health care partners tackle suicide prevention

Mental health providers, ambulance, police and fire services, local councils, prison services and voluntary community organisations have come together to make a real difference through what is an ambitious but practical strategy to tacking suicide. The plan sets out how we will work together to reduce suicide by 10% across the West Yorkshire and Harrogate area, and by 75% in targeted areas.

The most important part of this collaboration is the view that suicide can be prevented. It should no longer be seen as an inevitable outcome for people, but as something we can work together to successfully avoid. It is not a foregone conclusion for anybody and there is always the hope that things will improve.

This new way of working is all about creating a culture where everyone can talk about their mental health without fear, embarrassment or judgement; and where everyone comes together to support people so that suicide is prevented.It is important that everyone understands that suicide is not a terminal prognosis or inevitable and can always be prevented.

In England nearly 100 people a week die by suicide. In 2015 the Yorkshire and Humber region had the highest suicide rate in England. It is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 and the biggest killer of men under the age of 50, tearing families apart and leaving a devastating, lasting impact on many people’s lives.

The plan sets out how those at risk will be identified sooner rather than later - and before it’s too late.It includes plans to develop a real time system to identify apparent suicides, as well as a high risk decision making tool to help GPs, social workers, commissioners, and those working in communities work better together. It also sets out how technology can help through the development of an innovative suicide prevention phone app, will improve suicide bereavement services, and provide better care for children, young people and adults at risk of self-harm and suicide.

This new approach of bringing agencies together to work collaboratively has already achieved dramatic results internationally and will encourage a culture change across West Yorkshire and Harrogate in the way we view and treat suicide. It will provide coordinated support to local people and aim to reduce the number of suicides significantly.

You can find the strategy here. We have also produced this infographic summarising the strategy.