Extra Support For West Yorkshire Men At Risk Of Suicide

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) has secured funding to develop more targeted support for men who are at risk of self-harm and suicide.

Suicide is a significant and long-standing public health issue across West Yorkshire and Harrogate - with the wider Yorkshire and Humber region having some of the highest suicide rates in England.

The biggest killer of males under 50, mental health issues and financial problems are some of the biggest contributing factors of suicide in our region.

The £114,000 funding from NHS England/NHS Improvement is another boost the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Prevention Strategy, which launched in 2017. The Partnership has a vision that all suicides are preventable and is adopting a collaborative, evidence-based approach to ensuring fewer people die by suicide.

The additional funding will allow support workers with lived experience to provide advice, training and support for up to 600 men in the area. The Partnership will draw on its voluntary organisations like State of Mind and Luke’s Lads to help.

These new ‘pathfinder workers’ will focus on all men, but will have a specific emphasis on those aged 35-50 years. Innovative ways of engaging men will be developed in partnerships with leisure, sporting and community organisations, like football, rugby and boxing clubs. 

This will help to make links between men vulnerable to suicide and self-harm a cohort of people who are at higher risk, yet traditionally do not approach services such as NHS mental health provision. The approach will also help services develop and share resources.

This proactive approach will deliver support for men in groups and on an individual basis.

Support may also come in various forms, including the development of coping mechanisms, managing setbacks and dealing with family challenges. A clearer way into more formal services delivered by the NHS and social care will also be available.

Rob Webster, CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust and CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate (WY&H) Health and Care Partnership, said: “Many of the local charities we work with have emerged following the unexpected suicide of a friend or family member. That is because too often men find it difficult to share the issues affecting them.

"This initiative will bring men together with support before someone dies rather than afterwards and prevent suicides occurring. It will help ensure we deliver on some of the ambitions set out in the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Prevention Strategy. As someone who has been personally affected by suicide, I understand the impact not just on the person, but also the devastating impact on family and friends left behind. I know we can reduce the impact for men, their friends and families across our area."

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