Real time suicide early alert system in County Durham’

Grant McGeechan, Catherine Richardson, Lynn Wilson, Gillian O’Neill, Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The development of a real time suicide alert system shows
how organisations are able to respond in a timely way to an
increasing trend or cluster of suicides. This process resulted
in identification of suspected suicides and clusters plus
provides support services to prevent contagion.

Process evaluation of the County Durham Suicide Early
Alert and Community Response Guidelines utilising a mixed
method approach. The study used aggregated anonymous
local data on suicides to identify trends and clusters and a
series of focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders
to gain feedback on the process. This data will be compared
to similar time periods in preceding years in order to identify
any differences in suicide rates, and suicide clusters within
the area.

A whole system suicide response is triggered by the
information provided via the real time alert system which
includes post-vention support (bereavement support for
those bereaved by suicide).

Co-Production - The co-production approach to evaluations
meant that public health benefited from and learnt skills
associated with an academic evaluation, whilst the
researcher learnt about the processes and procedures
within the local authority.

This process has resulted in organisations having increased
control over their ability to respond, characterised by timely
evidence based interventions and improved partnership

The development of a suicide alert system can reduce the
delay in the reporting of suspected suicides, can identify
trends, clusters and supports a community response
including immediate bereavement support.
This process allows for more than simple data collection of
demographics with the data revealing a number of risk
factors including recent bereavement, relationship difficulties
and financial problems. In addition sleeplessness, low mood
and problems associated with housing were also identified.
Analysis of suicide data, and focus group data is still
ongoing, preliminary analysis will be presented here.

This process is an innovative multiagency approach to the
problem of delay in the notification of suicides and informs a
timely community response to prevent contagion. Immediate
access to post-vention support is a key preventative
approach. This will be of interest to commissioners and
providers who may want to develop similar systems so that
they can immediately identify an escalation of deaths due to
suicide and respond in timely manner.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2015
EventFaculty of Public Health Annual Conference 2015 - Sage, Gateshead, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201524 Jun 2015


ConferenceFaculty of Public Health Annual Conference 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Real time suicide early alert system in County Durham’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this