Plan to tackle high suicide rate in Brighton and Hove

Samaritans sign on a fence  Image by Peter O\'Connor, licensed by Creative Commons from Flickr.
Samaritans sign on a fence Image by Peter O\'Connor, licensed by Creative Commons from Flickr.

A new suicide prevention plan is being put in place to tackle increasing rates of suicide in Brighton and Hove.

In September, it was revealed that suicide rates in the city were at a ten year high according to the latest available figures for 2015-17, with 113 people ending their lives.

Now, Brighton and Hove City Council has put together a strategy with the aim of reducing this by ten per cent by 2020/21.

Almost three-quarters of suicide victims who died between 2006-17 were men, according to a report going before the authority’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

Suicide rates were falling in the city until the 2010-2012 period and have increased since.

Priority groups targeted in the new plan include men aged 30 to 54, people with existing mental health problems and people who self-harm.

Veterans are highlighted as higher risk along with care leavers and survivors of abuse.

The report going before councillors on Tuesday, January 29 says the council is working with pubs, sports organisations, music venues, barbers and others to raise awareness.

Those living in areas of deprivation, the LGBTQ community, people with drug and alcohol problems, members of the black and minority ethnic community, those with physical health problems and young adults are also priority groups.

During 2017-18, 169 people from 100 different organisations received training from Grassroots Suicide Prevention.

The report said: “An important way that we will reduce suicide amongst high risk groups, is to increase suicide prevention training.

“The strategy prioritises the importance of suicide prevention training in enabling those who work with those at risk of suicide to effectively support people at risk and prevent incidents.”

More than 4,000 mental health crisis cards have been distributed to the city’s universities, hostels, seafront team and mental health services and supported accommodation including hostels.

The council will work with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which provides mental health services in the city, as well as GPs and Sussex Police to support awareness and training.

Reducing the risk of suicide by repairing and maintaining cliff-side fences, and using Samaritans signs along the seafront, are also part of the strategy.

The Health and Wellbeing Board meets in public at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday (January 29) from 4pm.