Evaluation of Lancashire and South Cumbria’s suicide prevention training programmes and community-based projects
Suicide is a serious public health problem, accounting for half of all violence-related deaths globally. Across England, Lancashire and South Cumbria had the second highest suicide rate in 2012-14 (12.6 per 100,000 population). The high level of suicide in Lancashire and South Cumbria has been recognised as a key priority and a suicide prevention strategy has been developed with the aim of reducing the number of people taking their own life by 10% by 2021 compared to 2016/17 rates. This study evaluated two of the key activities implemented as part of the broader piece of work: a suite of training programmes on suicide prevention, self-harm intervention and, mental health and resilience; and, an Innovation Fund to support community-based projects. Key findings from the study suggested that the training programmes were associated with significant improvements in trainees’: attitudes to intervention work; confidence to intervene with at risk individuals; knowledge on suicide/self-harm; and, skills in appropriate clinical responses to disclosures from pre to post-training measurement. Reported outcomes from the Innovation Fund community projects suggested increased awareness of suicide risk and support services amongst project participants and their wider communities, and improved mental wellbeing. Such outcomes represent a vital step in achieving the long-term aim of a reduction in suicide rates across Lancashire and South Cumbria by 2021.