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Undetermined Deaths in Leeds 2011-2013

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Area for action 2 Tailor

Area for action 2 Tailor approaches to improve mental health in specific groups. Specific groups which the audit shows to be at a high risk of suicide are: Those who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse Those in ill physical health Those who have poor mental health Although the audit shows that White British individuals are at a much higher risk, it must also be recognised that those from different ethnic groups and backgrounds may benefit from a tailored approach to suicide prevention. Recommendation 3 Work with primary care to increase the recognition of those at risk of suicide. This audit shows that 45% of people had contact with primary care within a month of their death. Evidence shows that interventions and training programmes aimed at increasing awareness of signs of suicide can be effective. 21 Recommendation 4 Appropriate management of poor mental health at an early stage. Research shows that those with depression and other mental illnesses can benefit from a range of interventions both pharmacological 21,22,23 and psychosocial 21,24 and these can reduce the risk of suicide. Area for action 3 Reduce access to the means of suicide. The audit shows that Leeds does not have a ‘hot spot’ at which multiple suicides take place. The majority of deaths occur within the home. It is of interest, however, that the number of deaths occurring in public has increased in part due to the increase in those taking their lives by jumping/ falling. As highlighted in the ‘limitations’ section, further interrogation of the case files around residential high-rise buildings in Leeds may have been useful. The evidence around suicide prevention interventions is particularly strong around reducing access to means of suicide 21,25 . Recommendation 5 Monitor trends in jumping/ falling as a method of suicide and the proportion of deaths occurring in public. 48

Recommendation 6 Engage new partners who may have influence over access to means of suicide across the city (e.g. partners in the city development and planning sector) in the multi-agency strategic suicide prevention group and in the development of the suicide prevention strategy. Area for action 4 Provide interventions and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide. The audit shows that 10% of those included in the audit had been bereaved by suicide. Leeds City Council has commissioned an innovative postvention service that offers support to those bereaved by suicide (Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service). Recommendation 7 Continue to prioritise postvention interventions aimed towards those who are bereaved by suicide, and ensure that this service is evaluated to add to the global evidence base around postvention interventions. Recommendation 8 Engage fully with partners who are most likely to be in early contact with those who are bereaved by suicide (e.g. Accident and Emergency departments, police, Coroner’s Office) to ensure early access to appropriate services. Area for action 5 Support the media in delivering sensitive approaches to suicide and suicidal behaviour. There is evidence suggesting that adverse media coverage can be a risk factor for suicide 25 and there are concerns that some media coverage can contribute to the ‘contagion’ effect of suicide 6 . In partnership with the National Union of Journalists, Leeds City Council have developed guidelines for the media to aid journalists when reporting on a death by suicide. 26 These guidelines have been well received nationally. Recommendation 9 Continue to work with colleagues in the media and promote the use of the guidelines developed in partnership with the National Union of Journalists. 49

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