Agenda item

Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention

Update by Ruth Fletcher-Brown, Public Health Specialist


Ruth Fletcher-Brown, Public Health Specialist, presented the most recent data relating to incidences of suicide.


National real time data collected during the pandemic had not shown the increase in suicides as may have been expected in the United Kingdom.  The latest suicide data for Rotherham (November 2020) showed a small decrease in suicides for the period 2018-2020 to 13.3 per 100,000, a decrease by 1.4 from 2017-2019.  Rotherham now ranked 6th compared to CIPFA Nearest Neighbour local authorities and still significantly higher than the rate for England at 10.4 per 100,000.


Males still accounted for most deaths in Rotherham, however, it had decreased by 3.3 to 19 per 100,000 for 2018-2020 (22.3 for 2017-2019).  Female deaths for Rotherham for the same period had risen by 0.4 to 7.9 per 100,00 and the Yorkshire and Humber and England had seen increases in all person, male and females, during this period.


Attention was drawn to:-


-        The Suicide Operational Group had continued to meet during the pandemic to look at all suspected suicides and had updated its action plan in line with emerging risk factors.  Specific work had included promoting information on debt management and bereavement support including key messages for frontline staff


-        Promotion of the Be the One campaign throughout the pandemic, as part of Safeguarding Awareness Week in November 2020 and would be again in November 2021.  A new film launched on 10th September, 2021, targeting women who had been touched by/contemplated suicide and anyone who wanted to be better prepared to help someone else in a crisis.  This could be found at


-        Zero Tolerance Suicide Prevention training promoted across the Council and partners


-        Year 3 of the NHSE Suicide Prevention funding had enabled promotion of the third round of the small grants scheme to community groups who were addressing the underlying causes which could lead to suicide.  The funding had now finished


-        Promotion of the South Yorkshire Listening Service for those bereaved/affected by suicide throughout the pandemic.  Rotherham CCG was leading on procurement of the service on behalf of all South Yorkshire local authorities for 2022/23 but the existing provider would run the service across South Yorkshire until January 2022


-        Update of the Care Pathway for Children and Young People Bereaved by Sudden Traumatic Death


-        Virtual courses for suicide prevention and mental health first aid offered to all partner organisations with an emphasis on the voluntary sector, Police and Primary Care


-        Work with Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide to advertise for volunteers to be trained to run a Rotherham peer support group


-        Suicide Prevention symposium to be held on 12th October following which the action plan would be amended and submitted to the Board for approval


Discussion ensued on the report and the video viewed with the following issues raised/highlighted:-


·        There were a number of future events that would be used to promote the message including Safeguarding Week

·        3 important steps – talk, listen and care – and was being built into every training session

·        Concern with regards to the funding commitment and what happens next; partner organisations had to commit to this initiative.  There was additional money from the Zero Suicide Alliance for one year+

·        A number of support structures available during the pandemic would cease to exist soon i.e. furlough, the removal of the Universal Credit top up and increased National Insurance contributions, which gave real concern.  There was a need to look at what partners could do

·        The symposium was an opportunity for partners to challenge themselves around the action plan


Resolved:-  (1)  That the update be noted.


(2)  That future updates on suicide prevention and Public Mental Health activity be submitted to the Board.

Action:-  Ruth Fletcher-Brown


(3)  That all partners commit to promote training related to this matter, support services, particularly the services for people bereaved, effected or exposed to suicide, and Be the One Campaign.

Supporting documents: