A major free online resource, designed to help reduce suicide, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, is released today by the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA).

With the Covid-19 crisis increasing suicide risks such as poverty, domestic abuse and alcohol misuse, the maps and information to guide for action are more important than ever.

The new ZSA Resources site will support government, councils and NHS bodies target services and investment to create mentally healthier communities.

The website aims to provide a one-stop-shop for best practice in suicide prevention and has been developed with the support of the Health Innovation Network (HIN) and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

The ZSA worked with Frank Design, a website development agency with a long history of working with the NHS and other public services. Working together the new site meets the highest levels of accessibility and security whilst also utilising a fresh and vibrant design.

Jamie Wise, Managing Director of Frank said, ‘We are delighted to be partnering with the ZSA on the national and international priority of suicide prevention.  Our experienced digital team at Frank have enjoyed working closely with the ZSA to showcase their organisation and the critical work they are doing.  We are excited to see how the site will evolve over time”

Uniquely the resource centres on a series of risk maps that compares England’s nine regions to each other and then enables the user to zoom in to compare local authorities within each region. A further click shows the individual local authority with its risks 11 risk factors ranked. These factors are linked to research on how to cut them by adopting good practice or investing in a service, for example.

ZSA co-founder Dr Geraldine Strathdee says: “As an alliance we are continually presented with examples of new ways of working from our members; what’s more we’re aware of many national and international projects which others could benefit from and we want to share.

“Our new ZSA Resources should help us do just that. It aims to bring people together in new ways, to share work and case studies from across the country and from around the world; helping people to find examples of exciting and effective practice more easily.

“Now it is launched it will provide a clearly demonstrated and widely available evidence base helping to democratise information and inform better commissioning and implementation with a view to empowering communities to take action for positive change”.

Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Mark Rowland said: ‘Preventing suicides should stand as one of the key public health priorities in society and we are delighted to have partnered in this important work and shared our expertise to help in the mission towards zero suicide. I know from my own experience, that suicide is not only a preventable death but also a shattering tragedy for loved ones left behind and this resource will help focus minds and resources on reducing the risks that make these tragedies more likely.’

The ZSA Resources map gives a ‘Leaders view’, which will allow anyone to review their location. Using novel research from the Health Innovation Network and the MHF, ZSA have developed a resource, which is designed around the intended users, whether they be politicians, clinicians, researchers or the public. The ZSA aspire to connect people to the information they need to achieve the change they want to see and offer support where required.

On the suicide risk mapping and accompanying call to action document, MHF lead researcher Ed Davie said: ‘suicide ends and blights thousands of lives across the country. By visualising the geographic risks and suggesting evidence-based actions we want to support positive change that will also strengthen communities.’

ZSA’s additional research with the Health Innovation Network identified what the sector needs, best international practice and how best to present resources.