Suicide is a global issue with more than 800,000 people taking their own lives each year around the world, and for every person who dies there are many more who attempt suicide.
Suicide is not something that affects only one individual; it has devastating effects on family and friends. It is therefore important to try and prevent suicide where possible.
At the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) Rehabilitation of Offenders Co-ordinator Vicky Day and Research Intern Liam Bannon have been working with Norfolk Coroner Jacqueline Lake on a report identifying how to prevent suicide of offenders released into the community.
Vicky said: “Between 2011 and 2014 six prisoners released in Norfolk took their own lives accounting for 2.6% of suicides in the county. This is concerning considering offenders only account for 0.15% of the county’s population. It is clear that this group is at higher risk of suicide.
“We will now work with the county’s Rehabilitation of Offenders Board and countywide Suicide Prevention Board to implement the report’s recommendations when concluded with the aim of preventing ex-offender’s from committing suicide and improving their life chances.”
Other examples of how the PCC priority areas link with the work of that partnership group:
- Suicide is a real and present danger for victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence. Local victim support organisations such as The Sue Lambert Trust have seen demand on their services more than double in the last three years. We have backed the expansion of the Trust’s services to ensure it can continue to deliver comprehensive support, including counselling to those seeking help.
- People in mental health crisis are also a high risk group. As a county we have made a commitment to improving the system of care and support so people in crisis are kept safe and helped to find the support they need. We are working together to prevent crises happening wherever possible. Examples of preventative action include the introduction of mental health experts to the police control room – an initiative funded by the PCC. By having mental health nurses working alongside police call handlers we are improving safeguarding for vulnerable callers. People calling the police for help get the right advice and support at the right time from the right people and this is helping reduce the risk of them ending up in mental health crisis.