West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) have once again pledged their support to World Suicide Prevention Day 2022 and urged anyone who is struggling with their mental health to reach out for help.
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day – spearheaded by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) – is ‘creating hope through action,’ aiming to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.
Suicide prevention is one of the ten ambitions of WY HCP with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that the area has higher suicide rates than England as whole.
The latest figures released this week for 2021*, also show the three-year rolling rates have risen in all areas of West Yorkshire, except for Kirklees, compared to those three-year rates released in 2020.
In Leeds, suicide rates have risen from 13.3 to 13.9 per 100,000 people, in Wakefield from 16.2 to 17.3, in Calderdale from 15.6 to 16.9 and in Bradford from 9.2 to 9.8.
West Yorkshire also saw a rise from 12.6 per 100,000 people to 13.2 – compared to the England average, which has remained the same, at 10.4 per 100,000 people.
The suicide rate for Kirklees fell from 11.8 to 11.2 per 100,000 people.
[NB It’s helpful to note that the registrations of deaths with coroners are up to end of 2021 and this may not be reflective of the current position now.]
Rob Webster CBE, CEO Lead for WY HCP said: “It’s clear that periods of recession and financial distress increase the chances of suicide in our population.
“We can prevent this from becoming a reality.
“Knowing the signs and being able to have the conversation with someone is a skill that we can all develop.
“This Suicide Prevention Day I’m urging everyone to take the free 20-minute training provided at www.zerosuicidealliance.com – you might just save a life.”
Jess Parker, project manager for WY HCP’s Suicide Prevention Programme said: “These figures show that on average, over the last three years to 2021, there have been rises in suicide rates across West Yorkshire, except for Kirklees.
“With the economic pressures faced by people and communities, the risk of suicide may increase going forward.
“We know that households are struggling with financial worries at the moment, so we want them to be aware of the support that is available and to reach out if they feel they need it.
“Feeling suicidal is something that we don’t want anyone to go through alone. We realise that many factors can be at play, like relationship breakdown, bereavement, financial difficulties, addiction and ill-health.”
The WY HCP Suicide Prevention website brings together the broad range of support on offer across all areas of West Yorkshire for anyone struggling with their mental health or in a crisis – including for gambling issues and self-harm, young people, LGBTQ+, parents, veterans, and bereavement.
It is also a hub of information on suicide prevention including latest news and blogs, resources for professionals and the training available to all, including that offered by Zero Suicide Alliance.
Jess added: “We all need to be aware of the risk of suicide – residents, employers, colleagues, workers across the public sector – take the training and you could potentially help save a life.
“To all those struggling, know that support is out there and reach out – there are people ready and waiting to help.”
WY HCP’s Suicide Prevention Programme has been carrying out intensive work – based on its five-year strategy launched earlier this year – towards an ambition of reducing the suicide rate by ten per cent before 2027.
Recent measures include recruiting people with personal experience of suicide into a project to help shape future prevention work, improvements to the sharing of real-time information on suspected suicides across West Yorkshire and securing funding to invest in suicide prevention training for frontline workers.
For the full range of suicide prevention support and resources available in West Yorkshire visit www.suicidepreventionwestyorkshire.co.uk.
The campaign, which builds on the Partnership’s national award-winning staff suicide prevention campaign ‘Check-In’, aims to promote a wellbeing culture by normalising the conversation around suicide and mental health as well as providing communication assets, links to credible sources such as the life-saving Zero Suicide Alliance training, and signposting to local support.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk factors that may lead to suicide, inspiring people to start conversations about mental health with the men in their life at home, in the community and at work. It sets out practical help we can all give when checking-in. Messages include:
- Is your sporty mate suddenly off his game?
- Does your mate always want to have one to many?
- Does your mate get down when he can’t see his kids grow up?
- Has your mate left service but he’s still fighting?
Developed with local men and built from their experiences, the resources can be used publicly in various places – in person and virtually, such as What’s App groups, on Facebook and Instagram, in workplaces, community groups and elsewhere at staffcheck-in.co.uk/campaign-toolkit/males/ from Monday 16 May.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that suicide is more common in West Yorkshire than in England as a whole, with significantly more men taking their own lives than women. The ONS data shows that there were 235 deaths registered by coroners as suicides in West Yorkshire in 2020, with an average of 4.5 people per week.
This priority area of work is one of WY HCP’s ten ambitions set out in their five-year plan.
Jessica Parker, Project Manager for WY HCP Suicide Prevention programme, believes the campaign will play an important role in the conversation surrounding suicide, and could potentially save lives.
Jess said: ‘I’m urging everyone to get involved in this life-saving campaign and would encourage everyone to check in with the men in their lives to ask if they are ok. WYH HCP Suicide Prevention Strategy has developed strong momentum around making suicide prevention everyone’s business. We all have a part to play in combatting stigma and identifying men in our lives who are going through struggles and ask them if they need help’.
Surinder Rall, Service Lead for West Yorkshire Suicide Bereavement Service, says it is essential that we all know the warning signs of suicide. ‘I lost both my father and my uncle to suicide. So, I speak from experience when I say that we should all work together to combat the stigma and talk more about suicide. To achieve our target of zero suicides in West Yorkshire, we must continue to talk and ask each other about mental health and suicide. That’s what the Check-In campaign is all about’.
Rob Webster CBE, CEO for WY&H HCP said: ‘While people at risk of suicide may try to hide how they are feeling, they often give out warning signs. You might notice changes in their behaviour or be aware of events in their life that could be affecting them. By knowing what to look for, having the skills and confidence to have a conversation and provide support, you can make a huge difference to someone’s life, and their family. I’m urging everyone to get involved so they know the signs and how to respond. You can also start straight away by doing the online training provided at www.zerosuicidealliance.com’
All partners in West Yorkshire – health, care, voluntary sector and beyond, are encouraged to download the free resource, such as posters, social media messages and films to use in their organisation, place of work, teams or at home among friends, family, and community. All are available at staffcheck-in.co.uk/campaign-toolkit/males/ from Monday the 16 May.
West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership has published a Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan for 2022-2027.
The Strategy aims to make suicide prevention everyone’s business and is based on a long-term vision for zero suicides in West Yorkshire.
Key takeaways from the Strategy:
- Every death is one death too many. A ‘zero suicide’ philosophy underpins the strategy.
- West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership aims to achieve a minimum 10% reduction in the suicide rate across West Yorkshire over the next five years.
- Grief and loss, money worries, alcohol, relationship breakdown and mental health problems are significant factors that may cause someone to take their own life.
- More men than women die by suicide.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that suicide is more common in West Yorkshire than in England as a whole.
In order to bring suicide rates down and reduce preventable death, the Strategy aims to make sure everyone plays a part. This includes citizens, voluntary and community sector organisations, the NHS, local authorities, employers, emergency services, and others.
Nichola Sanderson, one of three Senior Responsible Officers for suicide prevention in West Yorkshire, and the Deputy Director of Nursing at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:
“My experience as a mental health nurse has given me the privilege of working with people and their families at the most distressing and vulnerable times. I believe that with the right help and support, all death by suicide can become a thing of the past.”
Kim Shutler, SRO and the Chief Executive Officer at The Cellar Trust in Shipley said:
“Suicide prevention in a post-pandemic climate will require us all to dig deep and pull together to do everything we can. We also need to work hard to raise the profile of this work. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. It isn’t just in the domain of mental health services. I encourage everyone reading this to take a pause to think what their role could or should be.”
World Suicide Prevention Day takes place on Monday 10 September. Calderdale Suicide Prevention Group aims to have a Calderdale wide approach to suicide prevention. The work over the past 12 months clearly fits with the global theme set by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).
In Calderdale this will be the 2nd WSPD campaign and following the successful campaign last year it is intended to replicate the approach.
The Calderdale approach is to wear an item of clothing ‘Inside Out’.
Inside out encourages people to talk – never underestimate the power of a conversation, you have the power to save a life. There is always a way.
There are a number of resources that you can download to help to raise awareness and learn more about how you can make a difference with a half day training course on Friday 5 October, 10:00am-1:30pm at Halifax Fire Station.
Andy’s Man Club also has regular meetings throughout Calderdale and at many other places in the UK.