NCISH Self-harm and Suicide Prevention Learning Set 1 – 17 September 2019

Frank, one of BIMHN’s members, recently attended the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH)’s recent learning day in London. These learning days are known as ‘Learning Sets’ – September 2019’s is the first in a planned series of four sets. 

These sessions are an opportunity for healthcare organisations to provide updates on various suicide prevention initiatives taking place up and down the country, with an emphasis on shared learning, with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of lives lost to suicide nationally. He has produced a write-up of what was discussed on the day. 

The agenda and resources from the session have now been published. You can access them here. 

The day started with an introduction and welcome from Tom Ayers (Director at the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health), which was followed by each Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) area listing their three priorities; feedback from this exercise showed certain themes in particular campaigns. STPs are areas covering all of England, where local NHS organisations and councils draw up shared proposals to improve health and care in these respective areas

Norfolk & Waveney STP’s presentation was delivered by the 12th Man Campaign. Based in Norfolk, this campaign started 5 years ago to reach out to men, with the concept being to get men to talk and have arranged football sessions and scooter riders clubs involved. Local barbers join in the conversations, and they produce T-shirts that can be purchased to promote and raise awareness. The campaign is funded by Norfolk County Council.

Tim Kendall (NHS England Suicide Prevention National Lead) presented a set of slides informing the room about what is known about people who die by suicide and whether they are known to mental health services.

It was confirmed that the NHS England suicide reduction programme would run until 2022/23 with additional STP waves up until that date.

Professor Louis Appleby (National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England lead) presented the next session. He updated on figures released two weeks ago showing that there has been an increase in deaths by suicides in young people and women. The numbers had increased by over 600 in part. Professor Appleby suggested that this increase could be due to the burden of proof needed in order for a coroner to deliver a verdict of suicide being changed to the civil test, which may have inflated figures.

Professor Appleby shared plenty of facts, figures and slides which are readily available from NCISH and the Office of National Statistics. Campaigning and raising awareness of suicide prevention would appear to be the most effective means of reaching out and putting the message out then that there is help and support available. Of particular note is the statistic that 66% + of people who have died by suicide were not known to mental health services before their death.

The session also included presentations from other STPs. Lancashire and South Cumbria STP discussed real-time surveillance. South West London discussed the trailblazer prevention project (bereavement support). Coventry & Warwickshire STP’s presentation covered the Mindstance and It Takes Balls to Talk projects.