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Report identifies those most in need of mental health support

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 13.46.35A report that looks at the factors that influence a person’s decision to take their own life and makes recommendations to support those most at risk has been published by the North Yorkshire Suicide Task Group.

The multi-agency Task Group was set up jointly by North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police, and City of York Council in 2014.  One of its first actions was to develop a suicide prevention implementation plan. It has also undertaken the first audit of suicides within the county.

The audit reveals that people with existing mental health issues, those with long-term illness or medical condition and those affected by emotional loss are at an elevated risk of taking their own lives.  The audit goes on to make a series of recommendations to:

  • reduce the incidence of suicide across the county, by providing targeted support for high-risk groups;
  • recognise that multiple stresses increase risk and enhance service provision in relation to common stressors, including debt management, bereavement services and advice and support in relation to drug and alcohol use;
  • improve support for those affected by suicide in North Yorkshire in the days, months and years after the death of a loved one;  
  • continue to collect information to develop and shape the multi-agency response to suicide prevention; and
  • provide training and awareness-raising material to support those working in mental health and social care.

“Improving mental wellbeing and supporting people whose lives are affected by mental health issues are key priorities for the County Council,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration.

“One in four of us in any one year will experience poor mental health.  Within North Yorkshire, that’s more than the combined population of Harrogate and Scarborough, or equivalent to the entire population of Craven, Richmondshire and Ryedale.  The remainder of us will almost certainly know someone with mental health issues.

“Some of the recommendations coming out of our first suicide audit will be implemented as part of our mental health strategy. Called Hope, Control and Choice, the strategy sets out our vision and priorities for mental health services, created in collaboration with users of those services.”  

Inspector Bill Scott, North Yorkshire Police’s mental health development lead, said: “Every death by suicide is a tragedy, but there are often indicators that people are vulnerable.  North Yorkshire Police is working with partners to make North Yorkshire and York a suicide-safe zone, where people know that they have options to live a fulfilled life, rather than feeling that their only choice is suicide.

“We want to help build communities where people feel able to talk about suicidal thoughts, along with other aspects of mental distress, and that there are people who will listen. That isn’t only the responsibility of professionals, as every one of us has a role to play in looking out for our friends, family, colleagues and other people we meet throughout each day.  Simple friendship and support can make a real difference, and something as basic as asking if someone is OK can save a life.

“Many of us – particularly men – will have thoughts of suicide at some point.  This isn’t unusual, although few will talk about it.  We need to change that, because speaking about feelings is one of the best ways of starting the journey towards feeling better again.”  

Councillor David Chance, North Yorkshire Executive Member for Public Health and Stronger Communities, added: “We are also committed to working with our partners to support people most at risk through our living well and stronger communities initiatives; ensuring that our social care teams make every contact with people count; and funding North Yorkshire Horizons, our support service for those struggling to deal with effects of drug or alcohol abuse.

“The County Council has signed up to be a ‘mindful employer’. This demonstrates our commitment to safeguard staff who experience stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions in the workplace. We are using public health grant funding to deliver Mental Health First Aid training (MHFA) and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) across the county.”  

North Yorkshire County Council and the NHS jointly fund a mental health out-of-hours telephone helpline service that provides emotional support, signposting and referral into other services for individuals and for the carers of people experiencing mental distress. People who need advice, support or help can call the dedicated number, 0333 0000 309, to speak to a friendly, understanding and non-judgemental adviser.  

Hope control and choice can be downloaded from http://www.nypartnerships.org.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=32685&p=0

More information about suicide prevention can be downloaded from http://www.nypartnerships.org.uk/suicideprevention

A support guide called Help is at Hand provides people affected by suicide with both emotional and practical help. Help is at Hand is part of a range of bereavement support materials available from www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk

By admin