Public health leaders and multiple agencies working across the wider health and care system in Cheshire and Merseyside have welcomed the publication of a brand new five-year strategy that will aim to prevent as many suicides as possible and reduce the number of people impacted by suicides in the subregion.
At an event held today (Tuesday 15th November) in Warrington, over 100 people including Local Authority, NHS, voluntary partners, professionals and members of the Cheshire and Merseyside Lived Experience Network for Self-Harm and Suicide have welcomed the publication of the new Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Strategy.
The Strategy has been created in close collaboration with those who have personal experience of suicide, as well as stakeholders and partners from across the private, public and third sectors, to ensure it meets their needs as much as possible.
Sadly, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in Cheshire and Merseyside there were 278 registered deaths by suicide in 2021, which may have impacted upon over 37,500 people due to the impact that suicides have on the people around them.
The strategy, which has been developed by Cheshire and Merseyside’s health and care system, has identified a number of priorities for the next five years, including inequalities and their impact on mental health and wellbeing, self-harm, children and young people’s mental health and men’s emotional wellbeing.
These priorities were discussed at today’s event, which was chaired by Angela Samata, Ambassador of the Survivors of the Bereaved by Suicide, BAFTA-nominated BBC TV presenter and member of the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Partnership Board, and included a range of speakers from the local health and care system, third sector organisations and people with lived experience of suicide and self-harm.
Speaking about the event and the strategy, Angela said:
“Suicide is an incredibly tough subject for many people, and I am grateful to those who have joined us today to launch this vital strategy and I am particularly thankful to those who have bravely stepped forward and discussed their own experiences, both at our event and throughout the development of this strategy.
“In Cheshire and Merseyside, we want to be a subregion where all suicides are prevented, where people do not consider suicide as a solution to the difficulties they face and where people have hope for the future, and I am encouraged by the passion, commitment and enthusiasm from our local partners at today’s event that will mean that we can meet our aim sooner, rather than later.”
To ensure that Cheshire and Merseyside’s residents are at the heart of this strategy, members of the local Lived Experience Network for self-harm and suicide prevention have been involved throughout the production of the strategy.
One member of the lived experience network, not named for confidentiality reasons, commented:
“I have found it a positive experience helping to develop the new suicide prevention strategy. I have been able to give my views on what the priorities should be as someone who has been affected by suicide and self-harm. It’s so important that we support people in crisis and those at risk.”
The development of the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Strategy for 2022 to 2027 has been led by the Champs Public Health Collaborative. Partner organisations who have been involved in the development include NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, and local charitable organisations including PAPYRUS and Wirral Mind.
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health for St Helens, and Cheshire and Merseyside’s Lead Director of Public Health for Suicide Prevention, said:
“I am pleased to see the new strategy published and would like to thank everyone involved, especially members of the Lived Experience Network and all the partner agencies. The support we have had with this has been invaluable and I am so grateful for giving us their time and experience.
“With the increase in cost of living and post pandemic, now more than ever we need to keep up our collective efforts to prevent suicide. It is only by working together that we can make a difference.”
To find out more about this work and read Cheshire and Merseyside’s Suicide Prevention Strategy for 2022 to 2027, please visit: https://www.champspublichealth.com/suicide-prevention/
To learn more about the Champs Public Health Collaborative, please visit www.champspublichealth.com.
To learn more about the Cheshire and Merseyside Lived Experience Network for suicide and self-harm prevention please visit https://wirralmind.org.uk/services/lived-experience-network/.