New campaign to tackle suicide in Hertfordshire
How can Hertfordshire tackle its suicide rate?
This is the focus of The Hertfordshire Suicide Strategy - launched in 2017 - which aims “to make Hertfordshire a county where no-one ever gets to a point where they feel like suicide is their only option”.
On October 14 a group of county councillors will spend the day scrutinising the effectiveness of the Hertfordshire strategy and the impact it has had.
During the day the panel of councillors will look at levels of suicide in Hertfordshire, the differing impact on population groups and suicide prevention and mental health services.
They will also look at high frequency locations for suicide in the county, paying particular attention to railways.
According to the latest figures available, in 2018 there were 95 people who killed themselves in Hertfordshire.
And, despite being lower than national suicide rates, that has a significant impact on the county - with estimates suggesting that every death by suicide affects 135 other people and has an economic cost estimated to be £1.7million.
At the meeting councillors will consider further findings from an audit in 2018 that shows that men - aged between 30 and 49 - were most likely to die by suicide.
Those findings also show that mental health issues were the most common risk factor.
And they show that more than a third of people who died by suicide in 2018 had been known to have made a previous attempt.
At the meeting, the panel - due to be chaired by Liberal Democrat Cllr Ron Tindall - will be asked to assess whether the strategy is fit for purpose, has achievable outcomes and whether the right partners are tasked with the right actions.
The Hertfordshire Suicide Strategy is being delivered by the Hertfordshire Suicide Prevention Network.
The Network involves more than 20 organisations, including from community and voluntary sector organisations, NHS Trusts, Hertfordshire Police, and the county council.
The day-long scrutiny meeting will be held at County Hall, in Hertford, on October 14. It is open to the public.