Agenda item

Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2024-27 and Suicide Audit 2019-21

To receive a report from the Director of Public Health that provides the Scrutiny Board with an update and overview of the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan (2024–27).  The report also shares thefindings from the latest Leeds Suicide Audit 2019–21.


The Director of Public Health submitted a report that provided an update and overview of the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan (2024 – 27).  Also appended to this report were the findings from the latest Leeds Suicide Audit 2019 – 21.


The following were in attendance:


·  Councillor Salma Arif, Executive Member for Adults Social Care, Public Health and Active Lifestyles

·  Caroline Baria, Director of Adults and Health

·  Victoria Eaton, Director of Public Health

·  Caron Walker, Chief Officer – Consultant Public Health

·  Rachel Buckley, Health Improvement Principal (Public Mental Health), Public Health

·  Jules Stimpson, Operations Manager, Leeds Mind

·  Eddie Devine, Head of Mental Health Pathway Integration, Leeds ICB


In introducing this item, the Chair acknowledged the sensitivities surrounding the issue of suicide and emphasised the importance of using appropriate language, with reference made to the sensitive language guide ‘Creating hope through language’ that was included in the meeting agenda pack.


The Chief Officer – Consultant Public Health, also highlighted that talking about suicide can be distressing and upsetting and therefore referred to the support available through the Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service, which is a peer led service.


The Executive Member for Adults Social Care, Public Health and Active Lifestyles and the Chief Officer – Consultant Public Health gave a brief introduction to the report and highlighted the following key points:


Ø  Suicide is a complex and devastating event and leaves lasting impacts on families, friends and entire communities.


Ø  The Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan has been collaboratively developed by the Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Group, which meets quarterly and brings together key strategic stakeholders from the city to also oversee the delivery of the action plan.


Ø  Engagement through the Leeds Suicide Prevention Network, which is chaired by Leeds Mind, ensures the development of the plan includes the voices of those with lived experience of being bereaved and affected by suicide as well as those who work directly with people who may be at higher risk of suicide.


Ø  Local data is used to ensure actions and priorities are targeted and based on common risk factors and target populations in Leeds.  This includes data from the Leeds Suicide Audit (2019 – 21) and real time suspected suicide surveillance data supplied through partnership working with West Yorkshire Police.


Ø  The action plan demonstrates citywide investment, ambitions and actions matched to key areas of action in line with national strategy and policy too.


During the Board’s discussions on this matter, the following issues were also raised:


·  The reporting of ethnicity in Coroner’s records – The Board was advised that the reporting of ethnicity in Coroner’s records is often limited due to inconsistencies with how it is recorded by numerous sources, such as within police and medical records.  This is an ongoing national issue which can impact the quality and interpretation of suicide data.  Linked to this, the Executive Member highlighted her intention to write to the Chief Coroner to stress the importance of this data and suggested that the Scrutiny Board may wish to raise this matter with the Chief Coroner too, which was supported by the Chair.

·  Association with mental health issues – Members noted that a history of mental health problems was the most commonly recorded risk factor with 85% of the suicide audit population having some kind of recorded mental health history. However, Members were also advised that the majority (66% of the audit population) had never come into contact with Mental Health Services.  With regard to those who had, 42% were in contact three months prior to their death and 24% of those had expressed suicidal ideation.

·  Transforming mental health services – Linked to its earlier consideration of the Leeds Mental Health Strategy, Members were reminded of the Community Mental Health Transformation workstream and the development of a new and integrated model of primary and community mental health care which primarily aims to ensure people can access mental health care where and when they need it, and be able to move through the system easily so that people who need intensive input receive it in the appropriate place.  Members discussed progress with the 3 integrated community mental health hubs and also the community-based grant funding scheme for small to medium local organisations who offer support for people with complex and ongoing mental health needs.

·  Addressing social isolation as a risk factor – Members also discussed the actions being taken to address social isolation having acknowledged that 41% of the audit population were living alone at the time of their death.

·  Engaging with primary care and GPs – The Board was pleased to note that the Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Group includes representation from primary care and General Practice and that further work is being undertaken to build on the ‘professional curiosity’ approach.

·  Working closely with sports leaders – The Board discussed the positive influence of sports leaders in helping break down barriers in talking about mental health and suicide and was pleased to note that the Council is already working with the Rhinos Foundation as part of a campaign to encourage people to check-in with their mates and help normalise conversations around mental health and suicide, particularly among men.

·  Suicide prevention champions – Emphasis was made on making suicide prevention everybody’s business and encouraging people to become a West Yorkshire Suicide Prevention Champion to help support prevention campaigns and tackle the stigma often associated with suicide.


The Chair thanked everyone for their valuable contributions and welcomed the content of the new Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan for 2024-27 and the work of the Prevention Group.



(a) That the contents of the report, along with Members comments, be noted.

(b) That the Chair of the Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles Scrutiny Board writes to the Chief Coroner surrounding the limited reporting of ethnicity in Coroner’s records.


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