Agenda item

Coventry and Warwickshire Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023 - 2030

The Board is asked to endorse the content of the Coventry and Warwickshire Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023-2030 and support the delivery of the strategic ambitions and local priorities.  It is proposed that a formal presentation of the Strategy and Delivery Plan be requested in March 2023.


The Board received a report from officers which advised that, following completion of the NHS England (NHSE) funded national suicide

prevention programme in Coventry and Warwickshire (2018 – 2021), work had been underway to develop a new partnership work programme that set out a vision for suicide prevention in Coventry and Warwickshire until 2030.


The report was presented by Paula Jackson (Public Health Consultant) who provided an overview of the strategy.  The work had been led by Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council and dovetailed with the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report, which also highlighted the ongoing impact on mental health issues since the pandemic.  Paula Jackson asked that the Board endorse the new strategic approach to help tackle this distressing issue which was now the leading cause of death for those under the age of 35 and for men under 50.


The presentation highlighted the importance of aligning the new strategy with national guidance and contained statistics of the suicide rates in Coventry and Warwickshire. In addition, the presentation outlined:


·       A zero approach to suicide, stating what the strategy hoped to achieve – there was a focus on inequality, creating safter communities and sharing data and learning;

·       The collaborative approach was detailed starting with strengths, outlining those groups at risk such as alcohol and drug users and those in financial difficulty;

·       How the strategy would work and the proposed governance model;

·       Implementation of the strategy showing what was already being done and what the Council planned to do in the future;

·       The two year delivery plan included providing a clear training programme for frontline staff, using realtime surveillance and identifying trends; and

·       The next steps in the process from endorsement of the strategy and a Suicide Prevention Conference in Spring 2023.


The Chair thanked the officers for a clear and concise presentation.


Russell Hardy (SWFT and George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust) addressed the officers and recommended a colleague of his at the George Elliott Hospital who worked with individuals following the loss of a baby, men in particular and offered to share his contact details should they find it helpful.


Chris Bain (HWW) noted that the data had been broken down into male and female categories but queried if any further investigation had been undertaken into specific groups.  He also asked how involved the officers were with regards to working with schools and colleges.


The officers explained that they worked with the local university as part of the prevention network, focusing on the mental health of children and young people and self harm.


In response to the data query, officers advised that the information was gathered following an audit of suicides since 2021.  This had been broken down by gender, occupational groups, location in county, deprivation base.  However, there was not a lot of information regarding ethnicity which, as one of the limitations of the data, was being addressed nationally.  Members noted that there was a lot more to do to understand the local picture.


Chris Bain raised a query regarding games on social media, following receipt of a letter he had received as a parent.  Officers advised that there were aware of the social media issues and although it was recognised that these were very hard to control, they would be included in self harm policies for schools.


Councillor Marian Humphreys stated that in the North Warwickshire Area there was a very active youth club with 42 children.  She queried if this could be an area to target as some youngsters may not feel comfortable engaging with the issues in the school environment.


It was noted that excluded children were a priority and those who found themselves as part of the criminal justice system were at a higher risk.


Having considered the report, the Chair outlined the recommendations, and expressed her support to see regular reports, including the delivery plan.  She endorsed a formal presentation of the Strategy and Plan and the Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Health and Wellbeing Forum and felt the Strategy should receive formal sign off by the Board either in May or via a Sub-committee if necessary.


Resolved that, having considered their organisational contributions to suicide prevention and identifying any governance routes for approving and sharing the Strategy;


1)    the content of the Coventry and Warwickshire Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023 – 2030 is endorsed;

2)    the delivery of the strategic ambitions and local priorities are supported as set out in the strategy and delivery plan through collaboration with the Coventry and Warwickshire Suicide Prevention Partnership; and

a formal presentation of the Strategy and Delivery Plan be delivered to the Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Health and Wellbeing Forum at its meeting in March 2023.

Supporting documents: