Experts from across the UK meet to focus on suicide prevention in Norfolk

04 October 2018

A recent learning event brought together experts from as far afield as Glasgow and Brighton to talk about preventing suicide in Norfolk and the support network available in the county.

Coordinated by Norfolk County Council’s Public Health team, the multi-agency learning event revealed the latest suicide figures which show that Norfolk is on target to reduce the rate of suicides by 10% by 2021.  Between a peak in 2014 and 2017, the reduction in numbers equates to more than 14 deaths per year.

Diane Steiner, Deputy Director of Public Health said  “The latest data shows a reduction in the number of suicides in Norfolk which is clearly a positive step.  However, the rate of people dying by suicide in Norfolk is still higher than the national average and there remains much to be done.   The learning event has been a great way to bring together all the support services and experts to share what is being done in the region with the overall aim of reducing the number of suicides in Norfolk even further.”

Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Communities Committee said:  “We all have a responsibility when it comes to preventing suicide, simply listening to a loved one at risk can be the first step to getting the help they need”.

Topics such as suicide bereavement, self-harm, work-place and occupational suicide prevention, as well as a focus on support available for young people and crisis interventions were examples of subjects discussed during the day.

Professor Rory O’Connor, Director of Suicidal Behaviour Research laboratory at the University of Glasgow, who shared his findings on suicidal behaviour said:  “I am delighted to be in Norfolk to share our latest research into understanding and preventing suicide.  It is also great to see such a diverse range of delegates share their experiences of what works to prevent suicide as it is only through working together that we will continue to drive the suicide rate down”.

Lou Provart, Chief Inspector and crisis negotiator with Norfolk Police talked about the work they are doing to help assist individuals immediately at risk of suicide in the county:  “Our service has found itself more involved in assisting those in crisis than at any other point in our history, and as such we have invested in training key members of our front line teams to be able to help those in need, in a caring and compassionate way.  Work with our partners in the NSFT has also been key to ensuring the right support can be put in place following a police intervention”.

Several new initiatives were launched at the event including the innovative smartphone app ‘Stay Alive’.  Successfully rolled out in other areas of the country, it can be used by individuals having thoughts of suicide, or by those concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.  A workplace health initiative is also launching to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of employees working in the construction sector and associated trades.  An additional provision of targeted training and support was also announced aimed at education settings and people working with high risk and vulnerable people.

The suicide prevention strategy and action plan, agreed in 2017, as well as resources and guidance for those people at risk of suicide or who have been impacted by suicide are available to view and download at

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