Francesco, a BIMHN member, joined National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH)’s 7th conference. The conference took place virtually. Recordings from the conference are available – the first video is at the bottom of this webpage. Francesco shared his summary of the event, which we have published below. Any reflections from Francesco are italicised in the report. Please note that this report contains references to suicide, self-harm, and sectioning.
Kate Lovett (Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists) opened up the conference to share that 900 people had signed up for the conference, and that over 560 people actually logged on. After housekeeping arrangements, Kate introduced the first speaker; Steve Gilbert OBE. Steve spoke about his struggles with suicidal ideations over the past 20 years and that he was informed that he did not meet the threshold for services/assessment – but finally, in 2010, was given an assessment that he felt had kept him alive. In July 2015 he was sectioned, more recently has been re-diagnosed with cPTSD, due to early life trauma.
Steve has been working on suicide projects for the last 5 years, and more recently with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) to support diversity and ethnicity in the recruitment of lived experienced influencers. He notes that from the three cohorts trained (n=32), none have been from ethnic or minority communities.
Francesco’s comment: in all fairness NSPA recruited and appointed so reaching out to diverse communities was missed even on a virtual platform seldom hear and hard reach will still play a part with lateral thinking and EDI within the communities of interest.
Professor Louis Appleby (Director of NCISH) introduced the audience to the publication of NCISH’s 7th Annual Report (1). In 2021 a study was undertaken across 10 areas of England (that covers a population of 13 million) to answer the question of whether the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of suicides over the period January 2020 to October 2020. The study found no significant increase in suicides, although it is stated this may change due to economic adversity still to be felt.
The conference was also informed that 7% of all deaths by suicides are from ethnic minority communities, with more South Asian males (34%) than Black Caribbean males. It was also noted that there had been an increase in suicides in people aged under 25 the period of this study. It recommends more additional support for vulnerable groups.
Nav Kapur (Head of Research, NCISH) presented facts and figures from the Suicide by middle aged men report (2). We are informed that men between the ages of 40-54 have the highest rates of death by suicides for 2019 (most recent data available). Risk factors included alcohol and drugs, and a history of violence. 34% experienced bereavement while 52% was found to have physical health conditions with the most common condition was found to be circulatory problems. Areas for improvement were identified as being early intervention and prevention, psychological therapies, improved online safety, bereavement support and socio-economic support.
(1) Available at: https://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=55332
(2) Available at: https://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=55305