A new initiative starts today to drive down suicide rates in Bradford.

Organisations including Bradford District Care Trust are joining forces with other mental health providers, emergency services, local councils and voluntary community groups to adopt a zero suicide approach. The partners are coming together across the whole of West Yorkshire and the Harrogate area to work on a plan to reduce suicide by 10 per cent and as much as 75 per cent in targeted areas.

Simon Long, interim deputy director of mental health acute and community services at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust was fully committed to the joint strategy.

The plan, which was going to be announced today in Wakefield, sets out how people at risk will be identified sooner rather than later and before it’s too late.

Danny Sculthorpe, ex-professional rugby league player and trustee of the charity State of Mind, was due to talk about his experiences of living with mental health and the impact this has had on his work, life and family. The initiative includes plans to develop a real time system to identify apparent suicides, as well as a high risk decision making tool to help GPs, social workers, commissioners, and those working in communities work better together.

It also sets out how technology can help by developing an innovative suicide prevention phone app, improving suicide bereavement services and providing better care for children, young people and adults at risk of self-harm and suicide.

“We are delighted to have contributed to the development of the West Yorkshire wide suicide prevention strategy. We will continue to work with public and private sector agencies to look at new ways of making suicide prevention a central focus and to create an awareness and support for actions that prevent suicide,” said Mr Long.

In England, nearly 100 people a week die by suicide. In 2015, the Yorkshire and Humber region had the highest suicide rate in England. It is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 and the biggest killer of men under the age of 50.

Mike Doyle, deputy director of nursing and quality in South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and regional lead for suicide prevention, said: “This new approach of bringing agencies together to work collaboratively has already achieved dramatic results internationally and will encourage a culture change across West Yorkshire and Harrogate in the way we view and treat suicide. It will provide coordinated support to local people and aim to reduce the number of suicides significantly.”

One scheme already being run in partnership between Bradford District Care Trust, Bradford Council and a Shipley-based mental health charity is a crisis care service called Haven. The day-time service at The Cellar Trust in Farfield Road, is an alternative to A&E for vulnerable people in distress who are having a mental health crisis. The idea is to make sure people get help earlier and have the best chance of a brighter future.