Overall, national suicide rates remain too high and are highest in the North of England. The devastating impact of suicide to the individual, their family and friends, colleagues and wider community is immeasurable.
Suicide is known to be a higher risk in some groups of people, and it is the leading cause of death in males age 20-49 years. Self-harm is a known risk factor for suicide and is particularly high in younger age groups and women.
The impact of suicide on individuals and communities is significant and there is an increased risk of suicide in families of people who die by suicide.
Guided by national policy and based on evidence of how best to prevent suicide and promote wellbeing and resilience, the aim of the North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network is to work together to take action to reduce suicide, so that fewer people die by suicide and we improve support for those affected.
Download a PDF version of our regional plan:
- To reduce the number of suicides, including in high-risk groups, and by a minimum of 10% by 2021, in all areas across the North East and North Cumbria.
- To reduce the incidence of self-harm and repeated self-harm.
- To reduce the impact of self-harm and suicide.
- To reduce the stigma of self-harm and suicide.
The Network consists of professionals from the NHS, Public Health England, local authorities, police, prisons, third sector organisations, other relevant stakeholders, and individuals with lived experience of suicide. It is overseen by a regional Steering Group, which reports to the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) Mental Health work stream. The steering group works collaboratively to coordinate, support and monitor suicide prevention activity across the region, with the ambition to do everything possible to reduce suffering and prevent all suicides, and to reduce the impact where this does happen.
Our regional Network approach supports collaboration across service boundaries and will help to ensure that expertise, best practice and learning is shared across agencies, that gaps and potential duplication are identified, and resources are shared/made widely available to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the plan and related activity, ensuring impact at scale.
The Network regional plan for 2019-24 has been developed by mapping local suicide prevention plans and following a series of regional engagement workshops and events in collaboration with people with lived experience and a wide range of professionals across the North East and North Cumbria. The plan brings together the overarching programme of identified priority work streams which supports local action plans at sub-regional Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) level, and related activities. Shared vision, values and aims which we have developed together will guide and underpin implementation of priority actions.
Our work streams
Following national guidelines, the NENC Suicide Prevention Network covers 5 key areas of activity: Leadership; prevention; intervention; postvention; intelligence.
This helps provide a framework for a whole system approach to improvement and support a comprehensive programme of inter-related activity, at different levels. This approach also helps ensure a consistent approach with other integrated care systems (ICS) and national programmes of suicide prevention work. Under the 5 areas of activity, enabling and priority work streams, each with related objectives (listed below), form the basis of a detailed programme of work.
These work streams have been identified and agreed following a review of local authority multi-agency suicide prevention plans and an extensive consultation and engagement across the North East and North Cumbria. The views of people with lived experience have been at the forefront of this work. Activity is delivered at region-wide ICS level, sub-regional Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) level, and locality level. The focus of the plan is on supporting local frontline action which will have a direct impact on those affected by suicide.
Enabling work streams
These work streams will help support and enable successful delivery against priority work stream activity.
- Leadership and shared ownership
- Communications and engagement
- Evidence and evaluation
Priority work streams
Each priority work stream follows agreed objectives and brings together expertise and learning from good practice across the region. The ICS leadership team and Suicide Prevention Steering Group support ICP-level and local implementation/task and finish groups to ensure best practice is implemented based on local needs and variation.
- System-wide competency
- Real time alerts and postvention support
- Learning from incidents
- Targeting high risk groups and locations
- Delivering safer services
- Developing suicide safer communities
Our whole system approach
The “whole system approach” diagram here demonstrates how all the elements of the plan fit together to enable greater potential impact. Underpinning values, shared aims and objectives, and enabling work streams need to be in place to support activity which will have a direct impact on people affected by suicide.
Network members have drawn up this list of values to guide our work through their contributions at previous workshop events. These values will underpin the programme of work:
1. We will work together to do all we can to prevent each and every suicide.
2. We will always keep people affected by suicide and self-harm at the centre of what we do.
3. We will focus on people not numbers, using personal stories to do this.
4. We will be role models and use our influence to do the right thing. We will use our terminology and language to promote a positive shared message of hope.
5. We will have the courage to challenge unsupportive attitudes and mindset.
6. We will help develop system-wide compassion by developing the right conditions to help prevent suicide – listening, giving hope, engaging and making human connections.
7. We will link individual, team & system-wide activity to increase the impact of what we do.
8. We will help develop and support a learning culture.
9. We will challenge and overcome barriers, we will take personal responsibility, be collaborative, and respect everyone’s contribution.
10. We will take responsibility for resource allocation to ensure impact for people affected.
11. We will make the economic case for further developing self-harm and suicide prevention activity.
Get in touch
If you have been bereaved or affected by suicide or self-harm, have lived experience of attempted suicide or self-harm, or have a professional interest in our work, we would be glad to hear from you. We are always looking to expand our Network membership and gain new perspectives from those who would like to get involved.
(If you need support for your own wellbeing now, or would like to access bereavement support, please look at our resources section to find an organisation that can help you.)
Katherine McGleenan, Regional Suicide Prevention Lead for the NENC Integrated Care System
Jenny Hicken, Network Delivery Lead (Urgent & Emergency Mental Health Care) at the Northern England Clinical Networks