Suicide prevention plan led by Northamptonshire County Council will 'hopefully save many lives'

55 deaths were recorded as suicide in Northamptonshire (stock image)
55 deaths were recorded as suicide in Northamptonshire (stock image)

Northamptonshire County Council is heading up a group of countywide organisations to help prevent suicides in the area.

In 2016-17, there were 55 deaths recorded as suicide in Northamptonshire, with the rate in the county broadly mirroring the average in England, and around a third of people who die by suicide are known to mental health treatment services.

Daventry is the only district that is statistically lower than the England average with all other districts in the county statistically similar to the England average.

A Northamptonshire Suicide Prevention Strategy was drawn up in 2017 and a prevention plan has since been developed.

That plan will now be implemented by a countywide group whose members include the council's public health department, Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, the Samaritans, MIND, Northamptonshire Police, the coroner’s office, Nene and Corby Clinical Commissioning Groups, East Midlands Trains and ServiceSix.

"Suicide is a taboo topic in our society, some people do not like to talk about it and do not feel able to intervene when they believe a loved one is at risk," said a Northamptonshire County Council spokeswoman.

"Suicide is preventable, therefore it is vital that partners across the county work together to ensure that suicide prevention plans are jointly agreed and implemented through activities that reach out across the county.

"Local authorities are well placed to prevent suicide because their work on public health addresses many of the risk factors, such as alcohol and drug misuse, and spans efforts to address wider determinants of health such as employment and housing.

"There are also important and varied opportunities to reach local people, particularly the most vulnerable who are not in contact with health services through online initiatives or working with the third sector.

"It is important to realise that local authorities cannot do this on their own and it is vital that there is a strong partnership working across all sectors."

The plan includes a number of priorities including a high impact campaign to reduce self-harm and suicide risk, training around suicide prevention awareness, targeting support for high-risk groups (such as middle-aged men) and increasing resilience in school settings to reduce the prevalence of self-harm in young people.

Northamptonshire County Council’s public health department is leading the partnership work and will fund projects in the near future that will support the implementation of the action plan.

Cecile Irving-Swift, cabinet member for public health said: "The suicide prevention plan will bring together organisations with expertise in mental health, providing a holistic approach to suicide prevention, hopefully saving many lives."