Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

At Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust we provide mental health and learning disability services across Norfolk and Suffolk. At the Trust, we believe in recovery and wellbeing, maintaining relationships and achieving a balance between treatments and continuing an active life. Service users and carers are at the centre of all aspects of our work and are vital in helping shape and support our service strategy. Our Suicide Prevention Strategy 2017-2022 complements the Government’s strategy Preventing Suicide in England and sets out our commitment to do all we can to prevent the loss of life through suicide. We aim to do this by providing the right care consistently, and implementing tested as well as innovative approaches with partners in order to help people live positive and meaningful lives. Both Norfolk and Suffolk have multi-agency suicide prevention groups of which NSFT plays a key role in supporting countrywide actions and learning.

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

As a provider of mental health services, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust plays a critical role within the community. Our Trust provides services for thousands of people, across all ages, at any one time. Our Trust believes it can alongside other organisations in our community make a difference for those vulnerable people who reach a point in their life where suicide becomes a possibility. Individual agencies working alone will be less effective than system-wide approaches to preventing suicide; so our strategy is closely linked to the county suicide prevention strategies in Norfolk and Suffolk. We have used information from national and local sources that have told us about trends and new approaches to working to prevent suicide. We have also used our own information and learning from deaths by suicide of people using our care to tell us what we need to pay attention to and improve- this includes the families of those who have been bereaved by suicide who are actively invited to be part of our investigation and learning from serious incidents.

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What are your current priorities?

To increase the availability of male specific interventions across the community

– We know there are certain groups who are at higher risk of taking their lives. The issue of men aged 35-54 taking their lives at a much higher rate than any other group is well-documented, along with factors such as isolation, debt, lack of meaningful occupation and addiction. The Men’s Wellbeing Team will continue to look at differing ways to engage men including our football group, All to Play For and the development of a Mensnet forum. Specific male mental health teaching sessions are made available to professionals along with hosting a Men’s Mental Health Day where professionals and services from across the two counties come together to discuss mental health interventions specifically aimed at men.

Provide families and carers with increase information on the aspect of safety and suicide risk

– Supporting a loved one who is experiencing suicidal thoughts is a frightening experience. People are worried about how to act and what practical support they can provide, it can be overwhelming having contact with a range of professionals. The priority pledges us to further enhance the way we support families and carers who in turn support service users through this challenging time in their lives. We have already held a listening event, looking after a loved one who is suicidal and from this we plan to run a pilot group putting this learning into practice to help our professionals and services support families and carers during this time.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

No current funding options for a Post Vention/Suicide Bereavement Service despite it being widely acknowledged that those bereaved by suicide are of an increased risk of taking their own life.

A shared understanding of suicide risk across our partners and stakeholders to ensure that the person received the right intervention at the right time.

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