Although a formal committee of Brighton & Hove City Council, the Health & Wellbeing Board has a remit which includes matters relating to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Local Safeguarding Board for Children and Adults and Healthwatch.




Brighton and Hove Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2024-2027

Date of Meeting:


7 November 2023

Report of:


Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health



Bernadette Alves, Consultant in Public Health


Wards Affected:





Executive Summary


This paper presents the city’s three-year suicide prevention action plan and the Sussex three-year suicide prevention strategy.


Every death by suicide has a devastating impact on families, friends and communities. Locally there is a high level of need: the city has the highest suicide rate in the South East, and the rate is a third higher than nationally.


Reducing suicide is everyone's business. Within the city a multi-agency suicide prevention steering group oversees suicide prevention and has developed our new three-year local action plan. It aims to reduce the risk of suicide, provide better support for people who self-harm and provide better support for those bereaved by suicide. This action plan is presented for approval by the Board.


Local partners also work on suicide prevention at Sussex level where there are benefits to doing so and a new three-year Sussex suicide prevention strategy was approved in September 2023 by the Sussex Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Programme Board. This strategy is included for noting by the Board.



Glossary of Terms




1.           Decisions, recommendations and any options


1.1        That the Board approves the three-year Brighton & Hove suicide prevention action plan 2024 – 2027


1.2        That the Board notes the three-year Sussex suicide prevention strategy 2024 – 2027.



2.    Relevant information


2.1         Introduction


The aim of this paper is to update the Health and Wellbeing Board on the city actions to reduce the risk of death by suicide over the next three years and to seek approval of the three-year local action plan.


Every death by suicide has a devastating impact on families, friends and communities. The factors leading to someone taking their own life are complex and are often linked to circumstances and experiences over an extended period. Risk is often higher in those who are more disadvantaged or socially excluded.


Reducing the risk of suicide within Brighton and Hove is highlighted as a priority in several strategies and action plans including the local Health and Wellbeing Strategy, the Brighton & Hove Health and Care Partnership Shared Delivery Plan and the 2023-2027 Council Plan.


Brighton & Hove has high levels of need. The city has the highest suicide rate in the South East with rates a third higher than nationally (14.1 per 100,000 in Brighton & Hove compared to 10.4 nationally). On average, 38 local people died by suicide each year over the three years from 2019 to 2021. Rates of self-harm, which is a risk factor for dying by suicide, are higher in the city than England. In those aged 10 to 24, rates are increasing, in contrast to more stable England rates.



2.2         National suicide prevention strategy 2023 to 2028


In September 2023, the Department of Health and Social Care published a new national strategy Suicide Prevention in England: 5 year cross-sector strategy. Replacing the 2012 strategy, it reflects changes in wider society and draws on new and better-quality evidence. Through action across the NHS, local government, the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors, employers and individuals, the strategy aims to bring everybody together around three ambitions:


·         reduce the suicide rate over the next 5 years – with initial reductions observed within half this time or sooner

·         improve support for people who have self-harmed

·         improve support for people bereaved by suicide


The national strategy sets out key principles and eight evidence based action areas.


The Sussex suicide prevention strategy and the Brighton and Hove action plan both take account of the new national strategy.


2.3         Sussex collaboration and strategy 2024-2027


For many years, partner organisations across Sussex have been working together closely on suicide prevention. This collaboration has significant benefits including shared learning, innovation and efficiencies for example in delivering Sussex level communication campaigns. Some key partners, such as Sussex Police and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, operate across the whole footprint which enhances Sussex collaboration. Between 2019 and 2023, Sussex benefited from an NHS England funded suicide prevention and self-harm prevention programme as part of the national Transformation funding programme. It was delivered across Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex.


As this NHS England funded programme came to an end, the need to refresh the strategic approach across Sussex became apparent and a pan Sussex suicide prevention strategy was developed by the Sussex Suicide Prevention Steering Group. Membership of this group includes NHS Sussex, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Police, Voluntary and Community sector representatives and the three upper tier local authorities. The strategy was signed off by the Sussex Mental Health Learning Disability and Autism Board in September 2023. Following publication of the national strategy later that same month, the Sussex strategy was updated to reflect latest national guidance.


The Sussex strategy is included in Appendix 1 and is for noting by the Board.  Our new Brighton & Hove action plan is aligned with this document.


2.4      Brighton and Hove action plan 2024-2027


National guidance recommends that local areas develop suicide action plans. In England, responsibility for the plans usually lies with local government through health and wellbeing boards. Reducing suicide is everyone's business, and national guidance highlights that local plans should be developed through multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships.


Within the city we have a multi-agency suicide prevention steering group including representatives from Brighton and Hove City Council, NHS Sussex, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, voluntary and community sector, police and wider partners. It reports to the Brighton and Hove Mental Health Oversight Board, and the Brighton and Hove Children and Young People’s Health Oversight Board. There is also a partnership that reports to the steering group that includes a wider membership of organisations that support suicide prevention.


The previous local action plan was approved by the Brighton & Hove Health and Wellbeing Board in 2019. Over the last six months the local steering group has developed a new three-year action plan which is outlined below and included in Appendix 2. The new Brighton and Hove action plan builds on our ongoing local suicide prevention work.


Feedback on the plan was sought in several ways:

·         The steering group includes representatives from different sectors, all of whom contributed throughout the development process

·         A workshop was held in mid-June 2023 where over 40 stakeholders from across the city contributed their expertise.

·         The plan was circulated during August and September 2023 to wider stakeholders for comment


Updates have been taken to key partnership boards.


The plan aims to reduce the risk of suicide, provide better support for people who self-harm and provide better support for those bereaved by suicide. There are 30 actions, of which five have been identified as highest priorities locally.  


·         Response to incidents

·         Lived Experience

·         Workforce suicide awareness and prevention training

·         Self-Harm collaboration

·         Suicide audit


The full plan is found at Appendix 2


2.5      Key national and local funding sources


Historically, national NHS England funding was provided to Integrated Care Systems. Sussex Health and Care Partnership received £1,584,000 over 3 years from 2019/20 to 2022/23 with a further £120,000 for a suicide bereavement support service for 4 years from 2020/21 to 2023/24.


The new national strategy published in September 2023 does not include an equivalent funding stream. However, coinciding with the national strategy, a new £10 million Suicide Prevention Grant Fund was launched for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to assist in the delivery of the national suicide prevention strategy actions until March 2025. We are aware that some local VCSE partners bid for this funding and are waiting to hear the outcome.


This partnership action plan has over 20 actions with leads from across the system at both city and Sussex level.  Actions vary in terms of their financial implications. Some are around new ways of working and have little financial implications.  Others are about reviewing broader services eg mental health support services so that they take account of the latest suicide prevention evidence and intelligence.  Suicide bereavement is funded by NHS Sussex and BHCC Public Health as part of a wider mental health support service and through the NHSE grant.


A small number of actions involve commissioned services or activities that have a primary focus on suicide prevention, including:




3.      Important considerations and implications





3.1       As described in the body of this report the local Suicide Prevention Action Plan is in line with national guidance. It is a function of the Health and Wellbeing Board to oversee and monitor the Action Plan and Strategy.


Lawyer consulted:        Sandra O’Brien                        Date: 19 October 2023




3.1       Where there are Brighton and Hove contracts in the Brighton & Hove Suicide Action Prevention Plan, they are funded by the ringfenced Public Health grant (Health & Adult Social Care directorate) and NHS Sussex.


3.2       The projected net budget on services that have a primary focus on suicide prevention from financial year 2024/25 to 2026/27 totals £0.275m.  There are other commissioned services that will help to deliver the action plan.


3.3         The Public Health grant allocation has not been confirmed beyond the financial year 2023/24 which may impact on the availability of funding, though it is anticipated that financial resources will be available.



Finance Officer consulted:     Sophie Warburton        Date: 25/10/2023




3.4         The Brighton & Hove suicide prevention action plan aims to reduce risk of suicide and includes targeting of support to those at higher risk. The action plan is underpinned by the national evidence base, and an analysis of data including protected characteristics data. The national and local intelligence identified that many of those who experience higher risk have protected characteristics and many of the risk factors that are associated with suicide are more common in those with protected characteristics. The plan commits to providing tailored, targeted support to these groups and will therefore have a positive impact on equalities. The data and evidence used for the action plan is being incorporated into an EqIA which will be completed by the date of the HWBB.




3.5        Any planned procurement related to suicide prevention, if led by the Council will take account of the council’s Sustainable Procurement Policy and the Social Value Framework. If led by partner organisations, the procurement will take account of their equivalent sustainability and social value policies.


Health, social care, children’s services and public health:


3.6       The development of the plan has been led by the local steering group which is led by Public Health and includes representatives from health, children’s services and others.  The plan aims to reduce risk of suicide and provide more support to those who are at great risk– a key public health challenge for the city.



Supporting documents and information



            Appendix 1: Sussex Suicide Prevention Strategy 2024-2027

Appendix 2: Brighton & Hove Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2024-2027