Why are you collaborating?
A priority of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Suicide Prevention Strategy 2017-2022 was to play a key role into taking action to reduce suicide in our community. As part of the Five-Year Forward Plan for Mental Health each county is working to a multi-agency suicide prevention plan supporting a 10% reduction in suicides nationally. We have a shared ambition to prevent suicide in Norfolk and Suffolk, which includes people who have been in contact with mental health services and those in the wider community without a mental ill health diagnosis.
This approach affirms the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s commitment to the Zero Suicide Ambition where we are able to share our knowledge and learn best practice from others around the county, in turn strengthening the way all organisations work together to reduce suicide within our community.
What and who does the collaboration involve?
Both counties of Norfolk and Suffolk have separate multi-agency suicide prevention steering groups and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is an active member of both these. We work alongside other partners at these meetings to share best practice, provide regular updates and an overview of progress to plan joint approaches to training, events and our engagement at a national and regional level.
In addition to these priority meetings all three Suicide Prevention Steering Groups are represented at the “Suicide Prevention Leads for East of England Network Meeting” hosted by Public Health England which meets bi-monthly. This provides the Suicide Prevention Leads a valuable opportunity to meet with and learn from other regions.
- Joint planning and involvement in events and promotions. Most notable examples are an NSFT lead Men’s Mental Health conference (held in both Norfolk and Suffolk), Suicide Prevention Learning Events (Norfolk Public Health led) and promotion of Suffolk Life Savers work.
- Integrating the approach between the countywide strategies of Norfolk (I’m OK / I’m not OK) and Suffolk (Suffolk Lives) and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust suicide prevention strategy.
- Collaborating on sharing of data and information which we hope will enable us to learn more about areas where suicide risk is higher.
- Ensuring NSFT and other partners are represented at all decision-making groups.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has invested in a dedicated Suicide Prevention Lead which has enabled flexibility and representation at local and national suicide prevention groups along with ensuring that suicide prevention is at the fore front of planning and delivering services for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. An important aspect of the position is to have local knowledge across a wide, geographical area with differing economic, political and social infrastructures. Much of this has been established through actively visiting different areas and attending meetings in person to allow those local relations to be established and respected.
- Five CCGs in Norfolk and two CCGs in Suffolk means there are different services commissioned and operational depending on geographical location within Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. For instance clinical pathways to access crisis support, psychiatric liaison services and services for children and young people will vary across the two counties and even between localities.
- In June 2018 Norfolk received additional funding under the first wave of the Suicide Prevention Transformational Funding. This is in response to Norfolk having a statistically higher rate of suicide than Suffolk. This will allow for more investment in services within Norfolk aimed at Suicide Prevention – some of this Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will benefit from and it will be a challenge to replicate this funding in Suffolk even though the perceived need is there.
- Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has adopted the Zero Suicide Ambition and a further challenge will be aligning priorities for suicide prevention between the trust and the wider community.
What would you do differently if you had to do it all again?
From Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s side I would insist on a greater representation of service user, carer and those bereaved by suicide from the start when planning future care delivery. Those with lived experience are already active members of our Suicide Prevention Panel and contributed to the formulation of the Suicide Prevention Strategy but that is not to say we cannot continue to improve how we listen and respond to those effected by suicide. We are currently reviewing the Suicide Prevention Training which is delivered to the professionals providing Clinical care to those who work for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Those with lived experience are being actively consulted from the start in the planning of the training alongside the educational department and clinical leaders. It is hoped that success from this will not only be a rewarding experience for those involved but will deliver effective, fit for purpose training with the aim that this training will be co-delivered. Those effected by suicide need to be involved at the start of any change or review of our services.