Agenda item

Medway Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Children and Young People

This report provides an update on the actions being taken to prevent and reduce the likelihood of suicides in Children and Young People in Medway. It sets out the Medway specific interventions being taken forward as part of the Medway Suicide Prevention Action for Children and Young People following the approval of the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Strategies for Adults and Children and Young people by Cabinet on the 28 September 2021.




The Public Health Consultant introduced the report explaining that it built on the Suicide Prevention Strategy that was considered by the Committee in August 2021.  The Action Plan was Medway specific, and he reminded the Committee that suicides amongst children and young people were very low (less than five over a three year period) and hospital admissions due to self-harm was below National average and was in the bottom five in the South East region.


Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:


  • Method of Self Harm and Trends- the prevalence of the use of overdose, as a method of self-harm was referenced in the report and in response to a question on comparable figures, the officer stated that the issues identified in Medway were in line with National data.


In response to a further question on emerging trends as the report identified a higher rate of hospital admissions due to self-harm in Rochester West and Twydall wards and significantly higher incidences of self-harm in girls aged 10-24, the officer said that it was difficult to identify particular factors due to the statistically low numbers. There were several possible explanations such as the same individual presenting at A&E multiple times. Following the introduction of the Emerge project (which provided support to young self-harmers presenting at A&E) and self harm awareness training for partners, there may be a difference in patterns that would be evident in the data available later in January 2022.


  • Role of Schools – a concern was raised about the added pressures that may be faced by schools who had been identified as playing a key role in identification and supporting vulnerable young people. The officer acknowledged that schools did face extra pressure which was why the action plan had specific actions regarding mental health promotion within schools with key actions on delivery.  All partners as part of the action plan would be reminded of their responsibilities and duties to provide support to schools and ensure their mental health support and provision complemented the vital work that would be done by schools.


  • Diversity – In response to a question on how the action plan would encompass the diversity of Medway to ensure that all the different communities were targeted accordingly and appropriately, the officer welcomed any suggestions and support that could be provided by Ward Members in reaching all areas of the community. The officer welcomed the suggestion to provide a Member briefing session on the strategy and on utilising the Medway Diversity Forum to promote the training and support available.


  • Challenges- It was asked what challenges were envisaged that may impact the delivery of the action plan. The officer said that this was a new action plan which had been carefully thought out and although it was starting from a good position, promotion and ensuring good awareness of what was offered may be a challenge. Training was a key element of delivery of the plan, and it was crucial that all steps were taken to ensure that professionals and multiagencies had an awareness of the programme on offer. Additionally, that information on the availability of the programme be shared as widely as possible at every opportunity.




The Committee agreed to note the report


The Committee agreed that updates (with dates clearly timetabled) on progress against the action plan be provided annually via a briefing note to Committee Members, unless areas of concern were identified which would require the item to be brought before the Committee for further scrutiny.



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