Agenda item

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

The report of the Director of Public Health/Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Board outlines the development of the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action plan - overseen by the Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Group with support from the Suicide Prevention Network which demonstrates the strategic and collaborative approach.


The report of the Director of Public Health/Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Board outlined the development of the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action plan - overseen by the Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Group with support from the Suicide Prevention Network which demonstrated the strategic and collaborative approach.


The following were in attendance for this item:

·  Caron Walker – Chief Officer, Consultant for Public Health

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

·  Jules Stimpson – Operations Manager – Leeds Mind


The following information was provided to Members:

·  The audit was based on Coroner’s records from the previous three years and was surveying all data from suspected suicides.

·  The action plan was to be retained for three years and, although based on data, it was outlined that every statistic was a real person and support was offered to provide care for the associated trauma.

·  The plan took a collaborative approach with data provided by the Office of National Statistics and from a previous Leeds Suicide Audit (2019-2021). There was a prevention group which met quarterly with attending partners noted as the NHS, ICB, primary care providers, Local Authorities, Highways, West Yorkshire Police, British Transport Police and the third sector.

·  A network was led by Leeds Minds and facilitated guest speakers and launched campaigns.

·  Data was gathered in real time for suspected suicide, with an email provided by the Police each week, including demographic data.

·  Leeds averaged 11.89 suicides per 100,000 people which was the highest rate for any core city in the UK.

·  The action plan was based on evidence and insight, with toxicology reports and Police statements providing a deep understanding of each case.

·  There had been 194 suicides reported within the Leeds Suicide Audit (2019-2021) understood through 156 pieces of information outlining the high level data set and analysis.

·  The audit allowed for a demographic breakdown through ethnicity, work and housing data. There were 26 recorded risk factors, with addiction and relationship issues being the most common cause for suicide. The audit would seek to understand the circumstances of deaths and inform signposting to access services.

·  A Ward breakdown of statistics outlined that residents of inner city areas were more at risk, with poverty being a risk factor. Common risk factors were recorded, with both minor and major mental health issues taken seriously. Risks commonly occurred together, with most suicides averaging six risk factors. The best approach was to target efforts and understand the interconnectedness of risk.

·  Real time data surveillance aimed to identify trends, allow timely postvention, join up partnership work, address potential clusters, assist with related trauma and provide an appropriate community response.

·  Community and secure, safe places were important for care provision. Prevention methods and lives of individuals were complex and required calculated care.

·  There were six key areas for prevention in the action plan noted as, addressing common risk factors through strategic leadership, an annual grant for the third sector, bereavement services, a compassionate approach to location, sensitive media reporting and making suicide everyone’s business.

·  There were courses available for staff and volunteers, including the ‘check in with your mate’ programme and collaborative work had been done with Leeds Rhino’s to address stigmas and promote talking about mental health.

·  A QR code was provided which led to information regarding advice and signing up to relevant programmes. A press release was due to promote the programmes and to promote the importance of open conversation, workplace plans and practises and a language guide.

·  Seven asks of Members were contained in the recommendations.


During discussions with the Board, the following matters were considered:

·  It was confirmed that the real time data was collated by Leeds Mind and the Police provided a spreadsheet each week with data for analysis and to identify connections; there was also the ability to go back and raise questions with the Police. Public Health data from previous years was also reflected on to identify trends.

·  Families and friends were contacted and offered support as bereavement was a significant risk factor.

·  The ICB conducted suicide prevention training which was built into the training programme.

·  Work on predictive analysis was suggested to be linked internationally with new AI technology being able to predict risk at up to 75% accuracy with further technological improvements expected.

·  GP records were suggested to input into risk factor analysis alongside training and awareness across primary care to make staff aware and alert to risk. A strategic approach was being tested for data systems flagging suicide risk factors and could be linked to GP surgeries.

·  Cyberbullying was not contained within the audit, but national data gathering was in progress and a children’s and young people action plan was to be checked for further information on this issue.

·  There was the ability to challenge the Coroner on their reports as they complied evidence for a decision but did not pro-actively gather extra information, however, the extent of their workload was understood.

·  A multiagency approach had been positive for professional judgement of causes and risk and helped push ethics and morality, with an increased ability for the activation of the Mental Health Act in circumstances that posed high risk.

·  Analytics were appreciated and necessary but understanding and talking to people was the best reduction method as each case was complex. Risk assessments were practical but less personal, more informal health care with friends and groups were often more successful.

·  Strategic prevention was to be prioritised to track trends, such as areas which were at a greater risk. It was noted that there was a trend for smaller towns to be experiencing increased rates and risk. Data and evidence were to be used to target areas of increased risk.

·  The IMD 1 for suicide noted men were at the most risk of suicide. Data for students displayed a decrease in suicides but was more apparent in news and media reporting. The whole picture needed to be understood and reported sensitively in the media.

·  People suffering with suicidal thoughts may present themselves to a primary care provider with a physical condition and improved training methods were to help with risk factor identification.

·  Ambassadors had been working in communities with a closer connection to people who may be in isolation and who would not contact formal support. Local shops and other amenities such as barbers were a good place for people, who may be off the radar of services, to talk and posters had been used for people to identify community ambassadors.

·  Third sector and community groups were a good arena for open conversation and connecting people who may live in isolation. Listening to people’s problems and what will help them was preferred rather than imposing needs upon them by formal services.



a)  That the headlines of the report which include the most recent data on suicide, references to the published evidence of what works to prevent suicide and findings from the latest Leeds Suicide Audit (2019-21), be noted.

b)  To have assurance on the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan (2024-27), the collaborative approach taken in developing it and plans for delivery.

c)  To support Priority 6 of the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan that Suicide Prevention is everybody’s business - whereby actions can be taken across all organisations in Leeds. These include a commitment to;

o  Recognising that suicide is preventable

o  Providing quality suicide prevention training for staff and volunteers

o  Supporting citywide campaigns promoting protective factors for good mental health and wellbeing

o  Becoming a suicide prevention champion and supporting others to do so

o  Referring and/or offering bespoke and timely postvention support to anyone bereaved or affected by suicide

o  Supporting our aim to reduce the stigma associated with suicide by creating safe spaces for challenging stigma and practices that may cause harm to others.

o  Developing and delivering programmes of work to prevent suicide

d)  To support the work of the Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention group in advocating for improved recording of protected characteristics, especially ethnicity data, via the Coronial process, by co-signing a letter to HM Chief Coroner alongside the Leeds Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles Scrutiny Board.


Supporting documents: