The Island’s suicide prevention strategy is ‘not fit for purpose’,  according to an opposition councillor.

The Isle of Wight Council’s strategy outlines who is most at risk of suicide and identifies four key priorities to prevent it.

Men aged between 40 and 60, people who are socially isolated and people who have experienced break ups or job losses have been highlighted as high risk groups.

But the council has been criticised for its lack of communication with people directly facing suicide.

Cllr Michael Lilley, speaking at a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, said he had spoken to the Isle of Wight Youth Trust and the Men in Sheds project, which supports older men.

He said neither group had been approached by the council’s public health team.

Cllr Lilley said:

“A lot of what you say is not fit for purpose and a load of rubbish.

“Staff aren’t talking to the people and the families who are actually facing suicide on this Island.”

The Isle of Wight is in line with national statistics for suicide, but the council said every suicide was a tragedy they would like to prevent.

The four priorities laid out in its suicide prevention strategy are:

– Improving knowledge and understanding of suicide risk.
– Upskilling people to deal with suicide.
– Postvention (after suicide) and bereavement support.
– Improve knowledge/data at a local level.

A report brought before the committee meeting was supposed to have addressed recommendations from a task and finish group.

But Cllr Lilley, who was part of the group, called the report ‘patronising,’ and said:

“We were very critical at that time and those criticisms have not been taken into consideration.”

Cllr John Nicholson, chair of the scrutiny committee, said there was ‘a lot of work to do to get our public heath fit for purpose.’

By David Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter