To summarise key outcomes of the Solihull Suicide Prevention Strategy 2017 – 2021.
To feedback on Solihull’s refreshed Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023 – 2026 prior to sign off and endorsement at the Health and Well-being Board.
The Senior Public Health Specialist presented the report, summarising the key outcomes of the Solihull Suicide Prevention Strategy 2017-2021, as well as outlining the proposed refreshed Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023-2026.
Members raised the following queries:
· A Member welcomed the report – they particularly welcomed how the Strategy reflected key points previously raised by Councillors. They highlighted how the report referenced reducing the risk of suicide in key high-risk groups. The Councillor sought assurances that all individuals with suicidal ideation would receive the necessary support, irrespective of whether they belonged to a high-risk group.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist confirmed this was recognised. She detailed how they were looking at the introduction of an orange button scheme, a way of identifying people that had undertaken suicide prevention training and could offer support. Mental Health Navigators were also being employed within Primary Care, to support people with non-clinical needs and ensure escalation, where necessary. The greater data collection outlined in the report should also help inform where to target support.
· A Member raised how financial instability and significant debt could increase suicide risk. They noted how the Council offered debt advice and support – they queried whether the staff delivering this service had received mental health training.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist detailed how front-line staff were increasingly supporting members of the public with anxiety and mental health issues and this, in turn, was impacting on their own wellbeing. Public Health had worked with the Organisational Development Team on this, outlining good practice and trauma-informed training. There was also corporate mental health training and support for Council staff.
· A Councillor highlighted how, nationally, male suicides were significantly higher than females. They also detailed how men who died from suicide were less likely to be known to, or have sought support from, Mental Health services.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist detailed how there had been focus upon targeting support for higher risk groups, including men. Examples of this included Men’s Sheds, a community initiative for men to meet others and help reduce isolation.
· A Member highlighted the priority to learn from those who had died by suicide. They queried how there could also be learning from, as well as support for, family and friends of people who had died by suicide.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist detailed how they had secured funding through the National Suicide Prevention programme for bereavement support. Here, as part of the real-time surveillance system, Public Health would be working with the Police to ensure those bereaved by suicide received the necessary specialist support. This would include help to access counselling, as well as ongoing postvention support.
· A Member raised the volume of agencies referenced in the report and queried how the multi-agency Steering Group worked together to support delivery of the Strategy.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist detailed how the Steering Group was developing an action plan for the Strategy – this included setting up task and finish groups for key priorities, to ensure partners supported delivery and were held to account.
· A Member questioned the support for people who had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, especially in regards to social isolation, as well as returning to work.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist detailed how the Mental Health Trust was represented on the multi-agency Steering Group and all relevant aspects of their service would be reviewed as part of the delivery of the Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Mental Health Trust had also developed their own Mental Health Delivery Plan and this included a priority to increase and improve support for rehabilitation.
· In response to a Member query, the Senior Public Health Specialist confirmed approximately 400 people had signed up to the Solihull Zero Suicide Pledge, including from a range of public and private sector organisations.
· A Member queried how the Strategy linked to the availability of services via the NHS and Mental Health Trust, in particular for children and young people.
· The Senior Public Health Specialist outlined how the Strategy linked to other existing strategies, including the Mental Health Delivery Plan. There was focus upon ensuring the consistent messaging, with clear signposting to enable people to access support, as well as maintaining links across Primary and Secondary Care.
The Chairman thanked officers for the report and responding to all Member queries. Members also expressed their support for the proposed priorities, as set out in the Strategy.
The Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board:
(i) Endorsed the content of the Solihull Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023 - 2026 prior to sign off and endorsement at the Health and Well-being Board.
(ii) Requested that the key points raised by Members be taken into account as part of the delivery of the Strategy.