New funding to help prevent suicide and to support women who are struggling with mental health problems while pregnant or have recently given birth has been unveiled.

The money has been made available to improve services for patients as Mental Health Awareness Week (14- 20 May) gets underway.

Mental health services will receive £555,000 in order to help in the fight against suicide across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. The money will be spent on training staff to understand the tell-tale signs and to improve communication systems between organisations so medical professionals can understand whether a patient is at risk of suicide when they come into contact with them.

It was also announced on May 8, that South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw will receive £880,000 to improve in hospital and home mental health services for new and expectant mothers.

Professor Des Breen, medical director for Health and Care Working Together in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, said:

“This funding is extremely welcome, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw is one of the areas of the country which has a high suicide rate particularly among men between the ages of 30 – 50 but there are things we can do to reduce the rate of suicide and this money will help us to do that.

“Anything more we can do to help women who are expecting a child or have just given birth to overcome or better manage mental ill health will go a long way to improving the lives of those women at what is a crucial time for them.” 

 Suicide Prevention

The main aim of suicide prevention work is to reduce the number of suicides in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw by 10 per cent.

Funding will be used to provide self-harm and suicide awareness training for all staff in GP practices which include how to intervene when suicide is suspected. Those who lose a loved one because of suicide will receive bespoke bereavement support. It is understood that those who have a family member who has taken their own life are more likely to do the same. 

A large scale campaign on emotional wellbeing in men across SYB will be developed and specific work around key risk factors for suicide in men; such as debt, housing issues, substance misuse, relationship breakdown and loneliness will be undertaken.


The funds which have been made available will mean women will benefit by having access to specialist treatment in community services closer to home or inpatient mother and baby units when they need it.

Specialist community perinatal mental health teams can offer psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during and after pregnancy. They can also provide pre-conception advice for women who are planning a pregnancy and have a current or past severe mental illness.