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Cash boost to help keep the vulnerable safe from suicide risk

In Despair?: Those needing help may get assistance before reaching a crisis point.
In Despair?: Those needing help may get assistance before reaching a crisis point.
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More than £1.5m could be spent on increased suicide prevention work in the South Yorkshire region over the next three years to help meet a Government target of reducing such deaths by ten per cent by 2021.

More than £1.5m could be spent on increased suicide prevention work in the South Yorkshire region over the next three years to help meet a Government target of reducing such deaths by ten per cent by 2021.

A grant of £555,000 has now been secured for the next 12 months but it is hoped that figure will be repeated for the two following years, giving public health officials the flexibility to mount both regional campaigns and to also focus on localised work where specific issues are highlighted.

The annual suicide rate nationally is currently 9.9 for every 100,000 and although Sheffield’s performance is better than average, with a figure of nine, elsewhere in South Yorkshire the situation is worse, with Rotherham recording 13.9, with 10.8 in Barnsley and 10.1 in Doncaster.

Barnsley Council health and wellbeing officer Phil Ainsworth said the money would allow increased prevention work in the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw area, with public health departments expected to work with other public sector partners to bring about positive changes through their work on a body called the Suicide Prevention Board.

The money has been awarded by NHS England and will be used to bolster work under what is called a Sustainable Transformation Plan.

Mr Ainsworth said: “It is a significant investment.”

“There will be focused work on ‘at risk’ groups, like middle aged men and those with a history of self-harming.”

However, it was also expected there would more broad-reaching projects and although planning work still needs to be done to confirm exactly how they will be rolled out, one potential way forwards would be to try to involve organisations like high profile sports clubs, which have a natural audience.

“The board has the funding, there are still talks about how it will come to fruition,” he said.

“Part will be dependent on the needs of each area. There will be some flexibility to spend differently in each area, as they have different needs for different groups,” he said.

Organisations involved in the work will by local authority public health staff, the NHS, police and voluntary sector groups.