Coventry City Council is a local government organisation responsible for the governance of the city. The city is divided up into 18 wards, each with three councillors. Coventry has usually been controlled by the Labour Party over the last few decades. In 2013 the public health service transferred from the NHS to local governments and the service now leads on public mental health well-being and suicide prevention on behalf of the Council, reporting to the Health and Well-being Board and via internal scrutiny committee governance structures.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
Through the public health and well-being service the Council supports a multi-agency suicide prevention steering group. The strategy, action plan co-ordination and delivery monitoring are supported by the team. The Council is also part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Care partnership. Within the mental health and emotional well-being programme there is a specific workstream around suicide prevention and the NHSE funded programme to tackle the high rates in the area. Working through the public health and well-being service, a number of partners have been brought together to develop pilot projects and look at ways of embedding the learning for the future. Across the WM a suicide prevention sector led improvement (SLI) programme has also been established. The DPH in Coventry leads the SLI work programme.
What are your current priorities?
- Developing public comms with a clear identity including digital and interactive self help and support
- Development of postvention/bereavement support services
- Resourcing training on suicide prevention and trauma support in a face to face capacity and online
- Primary care approach - polypharmacy focus, GP training, review of depression and self-harm pathways
- Support for at risk groups such as those with a dual diagnosis of mental health and substance use
- Crisis response/support
- Referral and discharge pathways within the community and specialist mental health offers
- Developing experts by experience /coproduction/advisory panels
What challenges are you currently facing?
Locally, across the health and care partnership and in the WM region we have shared operational challenges around information sharing and plans to support real-time surveillance as part of a multi-agency response.
Setting up a process that brings together criminal justice, police and crime boards, coroner and safeguarding arrangements (including the child death overview panels who review deaths by suicide in u18s) in a shared approach with clear governance arrangements is complex. Some targeted work around engagement of the relevant boards and contacts is being undertaken to initiate this. A joint escalation plan is in place with Network Rail and BTP to formalise multi-agency arrangements for incident responses on the rail network, we have begun to map this data and we are working toward an improved response from community services.