Hackney Council

Hackney has a comparatively young and ethnically diverse population, is densely populated and has high levels of deprivation, even in comparison to many other London boroughs. Healthy life expectancy is significantly below the national average and levels of diagnosed serious and common mental health problems are among the highest in London. Providing joined up support to people identified as being most at risk.

Although deprived, the borough also has considerable assets in both its physical and community resources. Hackney has historically been a borough that welcomes people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe and this is reflected in the vibrant voluntary and community sector.

Mental health and suicide prevention are both priorities in Hackney and a range of work is being undertaken to improve outcomes in these areas.
This includes but is not limited to:

• Working with frontline services to improve the experience for residents and support and signposting offered

• Improving the support offered to people who have been bereaved or impacted by suicide

• Reviewing suicides when they have taken place to identify any possible learning for future prevention

• Providing joined up support to people identified as being most at risk.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Hackney Council is responsible for the local suicide prevention strategy and action plan and we work with a range of local partners to deliver this. Actions Hackney Council is leading on include:

• Developing the local response to suicide, both for supporting people who may have been impacted, as well as identifying learning that can inform future preventative action

• Providing MHFA and MECC training to frontline professionals, so that they are better able to identify needs and offer support to our residents

• Increasing awareness of mental health, support services and reducing stigma

• Improving awareness of bereavement support and supporting frontline staff to speak to people who have been bereaved

• Working with schools and families to provide support to children and young people and training for professionals working with them

• Monitoring local data for any specific trends or concerns, and responding to these.

• Working with employment services to better support people out of work with their mental health and wellbeing

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What are your current priorities?

– Developing our response to and learning from suicides that occur using the new Thrive Suicide Surveillance database, so as to prevent future suicide risk

– Working to mitigate worsening of risk factors brought about by the coronavirus crisis, including increased bereavement, unemployment, financial issues, anxiety and loneliness and isolation

– Addressing inequalities in mental health and improving accessibility to support and services for communities that are currently underserved.  

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Challenges include:

– the increase in overall mental need and the number of people presenting with complex needs

– that some issues are not always straightforward to address at a local level, for example supporting people impacted by suicide

– capacity and resource to undertake suicide prevention work are ongoing challenges that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.

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