north yorkshire county councilNorth Yorkshire County Council is working alongside partner organisations to prevent suicides across the county, and is supporting the international campaign to encourage organisations and individuals to work together to reduce the rates of suicide in their communities. World Suicide Prevention Day is an international day of awareness-raising to show that suicide can be prevented.

This year’s theme is ‘Connect, Communicate and Care’, three practical ways to help prevent suicide. Being connected with those around you and being supported by them reduces the risk of suicide, so helping those who may be at risk from suicide is essential. Talking about suicide in an appropriate way helps to dispel myths and encourage those who may be feeling suicidal to talk about how they are feeling, and seek support. Finally, care is essential in suicide prevention: organisations and professionals must want to prevent suicide, and individuals need to know how to care for themselves and others.

“Encouraging people to connect, communicate and care reflects some of the recommendations that came out of the first North Yorkshire suicide prevention audit, which our suicide prevention task group published earlier this year,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration.

“These recommendations will be implemented as part of our mental health strategy. Called Hope, Control and Choice, this strategy sets out our vision and priorities for county-wide mental health services, created in collaboration with users of those services.”

The North Yorkshire suicide prevention audit identified a number of recommendations, including improved bereavement support, training programmes, further information gathering and supporting individuals with multiple risk factors.

“Suicide can have a devastating effect on families and communities,” said County Councillor David Chance, North Yorkshire Executive Member for Public Health and Stronger Communities, “but there are proven ways to prevent suicide.  That’s why an action plan has been developed by the suicide prevention task group, to deliver the recommendations identified in the audit and ensure the findings are put into place to create change and prevent suicides.”

North Yorkshire County Council has provided funding for Applied Suicide Intervention Training (ASIST) to be delivered by organisations across the county.  ASIST participants learn to recognise, intervene and prevent the immediate risk of suicide. A number of partners from a range of sectors will be able to access the funding for free. North Yorkshire County Council staff who come into contact with those at risk of suicide on a regular basis are also being trained in ASIST.

“Training has been identified as a priority in the suicide prevention action plan,” said Cllr Wood, “equipping front line workers from NYCC and other organisations with the skills to recognise and intervene to prevent suicide will provide essential support for individuals who are at risk from suicide.”