Have your say on the development of the Sussex Suicide Prevention and Self-harm Strategy

Closed 18 Sep 2022

Opened 21 Jul 2022


Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey on Sussex-wide intentions for reducing suicide and self-harm. We are planning to develop a three-year suicide and self-harm prevention strategy covering all of Sussex, with a draft strategy to be published before the end of the year. This engagement exercise provides an opportunity to shape these intentions.

Why your views matter

What are we doing?

This engagement exercise will provide stakeholders in Sussex with the opportunity to shape the ‘statements of intent’ that will form the basis of the Sussex Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Strategy. The strategy is being developed and overseen by the Sussex-wide Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Strategic Group chaired by Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health, East Sussex. The group brings together members of the Sussex Integrated Care Partnership as well as representatives from the voluntary sector and those with lived experience.

Why do we need a suicide prevention strategy?

Every suicide is a tragedy and has a devastating impact on those affected: on families, friends and colleagues; on those who respond and investigate; and for the wider community. At the same time, there are actions that can be taken that will reduce the risk of a suicide occurring. Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and we all have a part to play. While there is no evidence at this point that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increase in completed suicides, we know that it has had a significant impact on both children and young people’s, and adults’ mental health. It is likely that the cost-of-living crisis will also increase risk. Having a strategy in place will allow all of us to work together to prevent and respond to suicides.

What does the data and evidence tell us?

Data from the Public Health Outcomes Framework for 2018-20 shows that both East Sussex and Brighton & Hove have a higher suicide rate than the England average, while West Sussex is closer to the England average. However, as more people live in West Sussex, there are a greater number of completed suicides in the county than the other two areas. Of the 532 people who completed suicide in Sussex over this three-year period, 369 (69%) were men and 163 (31%) were women. The group with the highest overall rate is middle-aged men.   

Why is the strategy going to cover all of Sussex?

Several key organisations – Sussex Police, Sussex Partnership Mental Health Trust and Sussex Health and Care Partnership – have a Sussex-wide footprint. We want some of the services that we offer and some of the activities that we carry out to be the same right across the region. Of course, there are some local differences. East Sussex, Brighton and Hove and West Sussex will all develop their own action plans to implement the strategy. These will reflect local ways of working and some local priorities.

Where do the statements of intent come from?

National government requires all local areas to have a suicide prevention strategy in place which has to cover a number of specified at-risk groups and areas for action. However, the statements also reflect local learning and experience. It is worth noting that development of a new national strategy is underway and part of this work is ensuring that the two processes are aligned.

What are we asking?

We’d like your views about whether we have identified the key areas that would make a difference, and if there is anything you would like to add.

How is the engagement exercise going to work?

The engagement period will last for eight weeks. We would like all local stakeholders to give us your views about whether there is anything missing from our intentions and action areas. The results will then be analysed and used as the basis for the full strategy. From this comprehensive work, plans will be developed that set out activities at both Sussex-wide and local levels. The intention is to publish a draft strategy in November 2022. There  will be a further opportunity to comment on this draft.

How to take part

Please complete the online survey by using the link below. The survey has been extended to close on 18 September 2022, to allow people working in education to respond

Privacy information: This survey is anonymous and we don't ask you to provide any personal information. Please ensure that any comments you make don't include any names or personal details of you or anyone else. You can find more information about how the data will be stored and processed by East Sussex County Council on our website.


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