Grainne Eloi, General Manager of Mental Health ServicesBradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, working with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WYHCP), has pledged support for World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, by showing its commitment to end all preventable deaths by suicide across the area.

The Care Trust is a key player in the work of the WYHCP, which consists of organisations – including local government, the NHS and voluntary sector – working closely together to plan health and care services across the region.

World Suicide Prevention Day, organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, aims to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented.

The Care Trust and WYHCP, also fully support the Zero Suicide Alliance which is a coalition of partners determined to work together and share best practice in preventing suicides. In support of this, the Zero Suicide Alliance developed ‘Save a Life’ suicide prevention training that’s free and accessible to all.

Around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England. It’s the biggest killer of males under 50; mental health illness and financial problems are some of the biggest contributing factors of suicide across the area.

Suicide prevention takes place at both a local and West Yorkshire and Harrogate level. A multiagency Suicide Prevention Advisory Network has been set up to work across all partner agencies – on the basis that all suicides are preventable.

Some of the recent steps the Partnership has taken to prevent suicide and support people include:

  • Securing £117k of additional funding from NHS England / NHS Improvement to allow development workers to provide advice, training and support to 600 men in the area. The Partnership will work with voluntary organisation partners like State of Mind and Luke’s Lads to help. These new ‘pathfinder workers’ will focus on all men – with a specific emphasis on those aged 35-50 years. Innovative ways of engaging men will be developed in partnerships with leisure, sporting and community organisations, like football, rugby and boxing clubs.
  • A scheme to give firefighters suicide prevention techniques aims to help reduce the number of people who take their own life. To help achieve this WYHCP, has invested £22,000 in a basic ‘train the trainers’ fire service pilot.
  • A campaign to scope the extent of the demand for a specific military veteran support service to evaluate future requirements and develop services based on needs and risks.

Various activities will take place in Bradford, Harrogate and across West Yorkshire to mark the day and raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Grainne Eloi, General Manager of Mental Health Services at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “The impact of suicide can be devastating, not just on the person, but also on family and friends left behind.  We want to raise awareness of the support available for vulnerable people contemplating taking their own lives and are fully committed to suicide prevention. Working as part of the wider, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership we’re looking at new ways to create awareness and support for actions that prevent suicide.”

For those people who need urgent crisis care, the Care Trust’s First Response service offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to people of all ages living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, who are experiencing a mental health crisis.  People can call 01274 221181 and talk to a telecoach who will quickly assess their needs, including urgent support.

This may include a First Responder, who are mental health nurses and social workers, who visit people wherever they are in their time of crisis, sometimes with a member of the emergency services. Or the service may refer people to one of three community-based safer spaces for people of any age experiencing mental health crisis, that offer a warm, calm and safe environment, 365 days a year, as an alternative to A&E.

Rob Webster, CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust and CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said: ‘It’s really important that we all do what we can to support people who may be feeling hopeless or helpless. World Suicide Prevention Day is a helpful reminder to do this should we ever need one. It aims to inspire people to challenge their beliefs about mental illness and to be more open in their attitudes and behaviour. We know opening up to mental health is not always easy. There is a wealth of support available to help us all do this, including the national movement ‘Time to Change’, which has a raft of useful information and free online advice from Zero Suicide Alliance. As someone who has been personally affected by suicide, I understand the impact not just on the person, but also the devastating impact on family and friends left behind. I know we can reduce the impact by joining forces and working together with West Yorkshire and Harrogate communities.”