Suicide Prevention Strategy



When someone takes their own life, the impact on families, friends and the local community is devastating. As well as the immense pain and grief caused to loved ones, there are often wide-reaching and long-lasting effects on everyone involved.

We believe that suicide is not inevitable. Sandwell Council along with partner organisations is committed to meeting the ambition that by 2030, no-one will die of suicide in Sandwell.

Sandwell’s public health team have spoken to local service providers and people with lived experiences to understand what needs to be done. This has led to a strategy and to a list of recommendations of how we are going to make sure death by suicide becomes a thing of the past.

We can’t do this alone.

Why do we need a Suicide Prevention strategy?

Everyone’s situation is different and there are many reasons why someone may decide to take their own life. There is no single action that can be taken to prevent suicide, but there are many ways in which services, communities, individuals and society can work collectively to do so. The Sandwell Suicide Prevention Partnership brings these people and groups together to develop better ways of working to prevent the loss of life to suicide.

zero suicide by 2030

What does this strategy aim to achieve?

Our ambition is to achieve “zero suicides” by 2030, which will contribute to achieving the Sandwell 2030 vision of a thriving, optimistic and resilient community. Our key priorities will be to:

  1. Work in partnership to fulfil the ‘Zero Suicides’ Ambition.
  2. Ensure the highest quality of care and support guaranteed by professionals.
  3. Encourage a better awareness of suicide within local organisations and our communities.
  4. Reduce the chances of suicide in high-risk populations.
  5. Create an open culture where we listen to those with lived experience.
  6. Reduce access to the means of suicide.

How was the strategy developed?

A Suicide Prevention Needs Assessment was carried out in 2021 to better understand the local situation in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the ability to provide services and support. This explored what services were already available, how accessible these services were and whether they were functioning effectively or not.

Interviews with partner and community organisations, and with individuals with lived experience, provided valuable insights into the perspectives of survivors and those bereaved by suicide.

What is the Action Plan?

The findings were used to develop 10 recommendations, which form the basis of our Action Plan:

  1. Raise awareness of suicide prevention and bereavement support through training for all frontline staff
  2. Pilot town-based, community-led forums
  3. Support community organisations with funding applications
  4. Work with Community Development Workers to identify gaps in accessibility.
  5. Encourage referrals from GP’s to targeted services and establish an explicit pathway
  6. Expand awareness and access of bereavement support to all First Responder and bereavement-related partners so that an offer of support can be made immediately
  7. Identify and prioritise high-risk populations through working groups
  8. Improve data collation and intelligence gathering
  9. Engage with media organisations to work co-operatively on the reporting of suicides
  10. Commission further assessments on a larger scale that considers further populations

Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. It isn’t just about mental health services, but the wider services and networks that support people during their day to day lives.

What happens next?

Your feedback will help us to understand what matters to Sandwell residents and whether the Strategy & Action Plan covers what it needs to.

It will be used to further shape our plans and make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

Who will be responsible for delivering the Strategy & Action Plan?

The Sandwell Suicide Prevention Partnership will be jointly responsible for taking forward the agreed actions and keeping these on track. There will be local oversight from the Sandwell Mental Health Strategy Group and the Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board.

The Sandwell Suicide Prevention Partnership sits alongside the Black Country Suicide Prevention Partnership, which oversees development within the Black Country and has wider links across the West Midlands region. The group also links in with various other boards via its members including Children’s mental health groups, Drugs and Alcohol Groups and Safeguarding Groups.

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