A multi-agency suicide prevention strategy, led by Hampshire County Council, was in place between 2018 and 2021, but the resulting practices have continued.
During this period, the number of recorded suicides in Hampshire increased from 8.4 per 100,000 people in 2014-2016 to 8.6 per 100,000 people in 2018-2020.
Lateral flow tests and Covid-19: Portsmouth set to be first county council…
Delays in investigations due to the Covid-19 pandemic have clouded the picture since then, but the county council says early indications from real-time monitoring data in Hampshire show no increase during nationwide lockdowns .
At a health and wellbeing board meeting hosted by Hampshire County Council today, the success of the strategy was hailed by health bosses.
Sandra O’Hagan, Chair of the Multi-Agency Suicide Prevention Forum, said: ‘Incredible progress has been made, but at the same time this is an important area of work and we cannot be complacent.”
“It’s really about integrating this into the work of each partner organization, as well as into the mental health system itself.
“We are below the national average for suicide rates.”
Simon Bryant, Director of Public Health, added: ‘It’s a really complicated area and not an easy thing to get into, so I’m very proud of this work.
“Suicide prevention must be integrated into everyone’s activities, especially given the ongoing impact of the pandemic, especially in terms of mental health and well-being.”
From this month, NHS England’s suicide prevention funding will end, meaning funding will have to come from internal sponsorship.
Going forward, the plan is to integrate suicide prevention into Hampshire’s wider mental health system.
Ron Shields, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, spoke out in favor of the idea.
He said: ‘The tragedy of the suicides cannot be underestimated.
“In addition to the individual, it affects his friends, family and other people who knew him.
“The way we are approaching this is to be commended.”
Currently, there are around 30 partners in the multi-agency scheme, ranging from councils, charities, probation services and even representatives from the UK Transport Police and Network Rail.