Agenda item

An Update on Suicide Prevention Work in Medway

This report updates the Health and Wellbeing Board on the delivery of the suicide prevention programme from the from the ‘wave one’ funding from NHS England to the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) area.




The Consultant in Public Health introduced the report which provided an update on the delivery of the suicide prevention programme in Kent and Medway. Kent and Medway were one of eight sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) across the country that were successful in receiving ‘wave one’ funding to develop local suicide prevention programmes. The amount of funding for Kent and Medway was £668,000 in 2018/19 and in 2019/20. In 2020/2021, the funding reduced to £356,459. The Board’s attention was drawn to the data set out in section 2 of the report and it was explained that a new Suicide Prevention Strategy was being drafted for consultation over the autumn period. A further report setting out the national evaluation of the Suicide Prevention Programme would be presented to the Board in November. 


Members then raised several comments and questions, which included:


·       Support for national recognition days/weeks – in response to a query, the Consultant in Public Health explained that there were several initiatives to support high risk groups including the ‘Men in Sheds’ project which directly targeted local men. It was considered that further areas of work could include:

o   undertaking early prevention work for example promoting talking and sharing experiences,

o   targeting interventions towards BAME communities, and

o   engaging with sports clubs which offered an opportunity to reach men, particularly those who were middle-aged. 


·       Communication – in response to a question about signposting and communicating available support to those in need, the Consultant in Public Health highlighted two interventions, ‘Release the Pressure’ and a newer text service which individuals could access without needing to be referred. It was noted that the ‘Release the Pressure’ campaign was heavily marketed across Kent and Medway and was particularly well used by Medway residents. A Member undertook to carry out some additional research in relation to the effectiveness of communication. 


·       Signposting – in response to questions about identifying cues which might suggest an individual was vulnerable to suicide and directing individuals to appropriate support, the Consultant in Public Health explained that the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee had requested a briefing on this which had been cancelled because of the pandemic. It was suggested that this be picked up as soon as possible.


·       Prevention – asked what early support was available, the Consultant in Public Health explained that national campaigns such as ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ were supported by Public Health. In addition, Public Health delivered training programmes such as ‘Connect 5’ which helped professionals identify warning signs. The Director of Public Health added that a range of tools were available on the Council’s ‘A Better Medway’ website.


·       Training and awareness – in response to a series of questions in relation to support for professionals and linkages with primary care and A&E, it was explained that after each fatality an inquest and root cause analysis would be undertaken. Lessons learned would then be shared among relevant organisations. It was considered that as the Integrated Care System developed, it was important to ensure organisations within the system collaborated and learned from each other. It was noted that the Council also operated a workplace award system which included a module on mental wellness.


·       Future reports – The Director of Public Health clarified that this report presented an update on the current investment into suicide prevention and progress of existing programmes. He suggested that a report on how the Board could support the community could be presented at a future date. It was suggested that the report in November include information on how knowledge of the issues could be embedded within all organisations represented on the Board. It was suggested that it might also be helpful to highlight that the information contained with the report may affect readers and therefore, the covering page could also include prominent information on how to access support. 




The Health and Wellbeing Board noted the contents of the report together with the comments made as set out within the minute. 


Supporting documents: