Agenda item

Suicide and Five Ways to Wellbeing Update

Ruth Fletcher-Brown, Public Health Specialist, to present


Further to Minute No. 124 of the meeting held on 11th November, 2020, Ruth Fletcher-Brown, Public Health Specialist, presented an update on suicide prevention and Five Ways to Wellbeing.


Suicide Prevention

-        Currently there was little evidence specific to Covid-19 and suicide prevention, the national message was that many of the main priorities for suicide prevention remained the same during the pandemic.  However it was thought that certain sub-groups may be more at risk i.e. children and young people, prisoners and people with gambling addictions


-        The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) had jointly produced a briefing for Directors of Public Health on the public mental health and wellbeing issues arising from the Covid-19 outbreak.  Preventing mental health problems and promoting mental wellbeing amongst people living and working in Rotherham required a whole system approach


-        The Better Mental Health for All Group already existed to address the promotion of mental wellbeing for people living and working in Rotherham as well as oversight of the implementation of the Loneliness Action Plan for the Borough.  This Group had formed the Rotherham Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Covid-19 Group and had included other stakeholders where gaps had been identified.  Its primary purpose was to develop and implement an action plan addressing the potential mental health impacts of Covid-19 across the lifecourse.  It recommended and took collaborative action on local prevention and mental health promotion planning in relation to Covid-19 in the short, medium and long term for people living and working in Rotherham


-        For some time Rotherham had looked at suspected suicides in real time to ensure that support could be put in place for those bereaved/affected and to mitigate against further suicides.  This was now collated through the ICS Real Time Surveillance Project led by South Yorkshire Police


-        The real time data had been used during the pandemic to direct the actions within local plans, to offer support to those bereaved/affected/exposed to suicide and to mitigate against further suicides


-        The Suicide Operational Group had updated their action plan in line with emerging risk factors during the pandemic


-        Be the One Campaign promoted throughout the pandemic with a focus on women in October/November and the wider population in the leadup to Christmas/New Year.  The Campaign was also promoted across the partnership as part of Safeguarding Awareness Week in November 2020


-        Zero Tolerance Suicide prevention training promoted across the Council and other partners


-        NHSE Suicide Prevention Funding Year 3 had enabled Rotherham to promote the third round of the small grants scheme to community groups who were addressing the underlying causes which could lead to suicide.  It was led by Rotherham CCG, with input from Public Health


-        The Listening Service for those bereaved/affected by suicide had been promoted throughout the pandemic.  The Service and the Suicide Listening Service had been out to tender with the successful provider commencing in January 2021.  Both Services were funded until January 2022


-        The Care Pathway for Children and Young People Bereaved by Sudden Traumatic Death had been updated with input from practitioners and was now on the Tri-x-system for partners to adopt


-        The programme of suicide prevention and self-harm training had been disrupted.  Courses were being piloted and, subject to evaluation, a role out of training would be promoted in the Spring


-        The Suicide Prevention Top Tips for Primary Care had been amended to include risk factors and groups emerging because of the pandemic


-        Meetings had commenced by Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) to advertise for volunteers to be training to run a Rotherham peer support group


-        Ongoing training together with ICS colleagues looking at bereavement for children and young people


-        Action plans had been looked at in light of Covid-19 and updated


Public Mental Health and Wellbeing including Five Ways to Wellbeing

-        Partners of the Public Health and Wellbeing Covid-19 Group had worked on an action plan which was being implemented by partners.  It included work on crosscutting themes such as bereavement and loneliness


-        A Rapid Mental Health Impact Assessment produced to inform decision makers on how the pandemic might have impacted upon the mental health and wellbeing of local communities


-        Public Health England had recommended that local authorities capture the view of children and young people to establish the state of their mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown.  Following a review by the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Public Health Teams of surveys already undertaken, Rotherham Public Health had worked with CYPS to adapt the survey to suit the Borough.  This had been administered twice in Rotherham with 4,203 young people completing the second survey.  The results were given to individual schools for them to develop their own actions/responses to findings.  The SEMH Strategy Group and Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Group were looking at key areas of concern to address


-        RCCG’s Rotherhive website promoted across all partners and information sent to employers through the Be Well@work project.  The project promoted mental health resources to employers


-        Joint working with RCCG to look at promoting mental health support to employers


-        A variety of workshops for Council employees run by Public Health leads


-        RMBC staff wellbeing toolkits shared with other partners


-        Five Ways to Wellbeing campaign messages to promote mental wellbeing with staff during the Summer and Autumn months.  Also used by the Creative Recovery Programme to promote activities each month


-        Multi-agency task and finish group looked at mapping bereavement provision locally and nationally with the information now promoted on Rotherhive


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised/highlighted:-


·        The Chair, Ruth and Becky Woolley had been asked to make a presentation at the Westminster Policy Forum later in the month on the work RMBC and its partners were doing with regard to loneliness

·        It had been a whole system effort and was a really good example of Place based working

·        The Bereavement Service was receiving good reviews

·        Gathering evidence from post-traumatic stress from Covid especially for staff who were working on the frontline

·        When there was a death by suicide work did take place to ascertain if the pandemic had been a factor and reporting thereon.  Good work had been done together with the support of the local coroner



(1)  That the updates on suicide prevention and Public Mental Health including Five Ways to Wellbeing be noted.


(2)  That Board members commit to the forthcoming review of the Rotherham Suicide Prevention and Self Harm Action Plan.


(3)  That Board members ensure that their respective organisations maintain their commitment to the work of the Public Mental Health and Covid-19 Group.

Action:  All Board Members

Supporting documents: