More than 5,900 lives were lost through suicide in the UK in 2016  devastating families and friends and having far-reaching consequences for wider communities. The toll on the nation’s economy is also substantial with the associated cost of every suicide estimated to be £1.7million. In the East of England, the suicide rate was 9.5 per 100,000 population in 2016,  though it can vary considerably from area to area.
In a bid to reduce suicide rates Eastern Academic Health Science Network (Eastern AHSN) is hosting an Innovation Exchange to find enterprising ways of tackling the challenges behind the statistics. If you are an innovator with a solution that could address these complex issues, or a regional stakeholder with an interest, we want to hear from you.
Figures show that of the 14,277 suicide deaths in England in 2014-2016 there were key factors which contributed to an individual’s social isolation. These included unemployment, personal debt, marital breakdown, not being from the UK, living alone, and being 65 or older.
Research suggests that some initiatives targeting people who are socially isolated or in despair, particularly those which make them feel valued and loved and encourage them to make and sustain connections with others, can help to reduce suicidal thoughts.
With the demand for mental health care services continuing to rise and with two million more adults predicted to suffer with mental health problems in the UK by 2030, the challenges – and the opportunities to make a difference – are substantial.
If you have an innovation that can respond to any of the challenges above, we invite you submit an Expression of Interest to our current Innovation Exchange. The Innovation Exchange seeks to define challenges, and find solutions to bring together innovators with local health and care representatives.
Victoria Corbishley, Eastern AHSN’s Director of Transformation, said: “We are looking for simple and effective solutions in a highly complex area. Innovations shared with us will be reviewed by a panel of experts and the most promising will be invited to attend a networking day, discussing how this would work in practice with senior decision-makers in the NHS.
“The exchange provides a great opportunity to get direct feedback from those commissioning and delivering care as well as the potential to be taken forward and tested in a real-world setting.”
The closing date for expressions of interest is Friday, 21 September. Find out more, including details of how to apply as an innovator. For any other questions or if you would be interested in attending our networking day please contact us at STPsupport@eahsn.org
 National Office for Statistics
 Public Health England