About this programme

Together with the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) we have been commissioned by NHS England to work with teams in local areas with the highest level of need to support them to strengthen their local suicide prevention plans, to improve safety and ultimately reduce suicide and self-harm rates.

What are the three areas of focus? 

The suicide prevention programme focuses on three of the main priority areas identified in the National Suicide Prevention Strategy:

  • middle-aged men (aged 35-54 years) – who remain at the highest risk of suicide
  • people who use mental health services – who account for around a third of all suicides in England
  • people who have self-harmed – self-harm is the biggest indicator of suicide risk.

How does the programme work?

NHS England have so far invested funding in Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to establish or develop local suicide prevention plans with the aim to reduce the number of deaths by suicide in the UK by 10% by 2020/21. The programme currently includes: 

Eight local areas identified as having the highest rate of suicide in 2018:

  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly STP
  • Coventry and Warwickshire STP
  • Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS
  • Kent and Medway STP
  • Norfolk and Waveney STP
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS.

Seven local areas identified as having a high rate of suicide in 2019:

  • Cheshire and Merseyside STP
  • Hampshire and the Isle of Wight STP
  • Humber, Coast and Vale STP
  • North East and North Cumbria ICS
  • Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent STP
  • Suffolk and North East Essex ICS
  • Sussex Health and Care Partnership.
  • Bath, Swindon, and Wiltshire STP
  • Black Country STP
  • Birmingham & Solihull STP
  • Joined Up Care Derbyshire
  • Devon ICS
  • Dorset ICS
  • Gloucestershire STP
  • Herefordshire & Worcestershire STP
  • Lincolnshire STP
  • Mid and South Essex STP
  • North Central London STP
  • Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership
  • Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin STP
  • Somerset STP
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership

Seven local areas demonstrating good practice and innovation:

  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West STP
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough STP
  • Derbyshire STP
  • Devon STP
  • Somerset STP
  • South West London Health and Care Partnership
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate ICS.

We work with NCISH to support these local areas to implement their local suicide prevention plans and to improve their quality and safety. We provide quality improvement (QI) support tailored to the needs of each local area, including:

  • Developing a driver diagram – a conceptual model that illustrates the aim you trying to achieve, the primary drivers that affect this aim and the secondary drivers that are required to achieve the aim
  • Collaborative workshops with people who use and provide services
  • Use of QI tools to generate ideas and plan tests of change
  • QI coaching sessions
  • Bi-monthly learning sets – events where local areas come together to network and share their learning.

NCISH work with each local area to help them understand their data and the national evidence base. NHS England and Public Health England support the 37 local areas at a regional and national level. 

We also actively foster a shared learning culture through monthly telephone clinics open to anyone working on a suicide or self-harm prevention project. Local areas across England join the clinics to seek advice and share learning with one another.

Real-time surveillance 

We also support the implementation of real-time surveillance (RTS) systems to track the number of probable suicides in local areas through collaborating services including coroners, the police and the NHS. RTS provides local areas with information on probable suicide in real-time in their area, allowing for more timely identification and implementation of support to prevent suicide.

NCISH National Suicide Prevention Programme Infographic