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Suicides down in Norfolk during 2019, figures reveal

02 September 2020

New figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show suicide in Norfolk decreased by 17.6% in 2019 compared with the previous year.

The figures show a national increase of 5.8%, from 5,021 to 5,316. In Norfolk, a total of 89 suicides were reported compared with 108 in the previous year.

Dr Louise Smith Director of Public Health said: “While we will always see one suicide as being one too many, I’m pleased our continued work with mental health charities and the NHS is helping improve lives in the county.

“We have secured and invested over £1 million of funding to support mental health and suicide prevention since April 2018. We’ve also commissioned the wider use of an innovative referral system which means the patient only needs to tell their story once. It also makes it easier for hospitals to both refer patients to services like counselling or therapy, and get them support for other issues like financial, housing and legal problems.”

Cllr Bill Borrett, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “We’ve been working hard to join up local NHS organisations like Just One Norfolk and national charities like the Samaritans to draw on their expertise and knowledge and make it easier to get help. I’m pleased to see this has begun making a difference and we’ve seen a reduction in the suicide rate for 2019.

“Looking ahead to this current year, there have been lots of challenges with the effects of Coronavirus, so we have continued to promote our I Am (really not) Okay mental health campaign to both help people at risk of suicide and support the families and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide.”

Several campaigns have so far been run throughout the year, promoting ways of improving mental wellbeing and encouraging people to access support should they need it. Those struggling with suicidal thoughts can download the Stay Alive app and find the organisations that can help them by visiting www.norfolk.gov.uk/notokay

As much as possible, people are encouraged to improve their mental wellbeing to tackle negative thoughts that can lead to more serious mental health issues down the line. Using the Five Ways to Wellbeing or making a ‘mind plan’ can help people take constructive steps towards getting better.

Norfolk County Council Public Health have recently commissioned the wider rollout of the Norfolk Community Advice Network (NCAN) referral system across acute and primary care. The system brings together a strong and inclusive network of the county’s advice agencies, making it easier for people to get the right support from the most appropriate agency, and preventing gaps in the system. The network also helps ensure quality and best practice among its partners, and provides advice on policy and strategy to the wider sector in Norfolk.

Suicide continues to be one of the leading causes of death in men aged under 45. As part of its suicide prevention work Norfolk County Council is providing funding for local organisations such as Menscraft and campaigns like the 12th Man to offer help, support and social activities for men.

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