Background: Access to timely data on suicide is crucial to support suicide prevention. A real-time suicide surveillance (RTSS) system enables public health teams and allied agencies to review information following suicides promptly and take action quickly.
Aims: The aim of this paper was to report on an evaluation of an RTSS system in South Yorkshire, England.
Method: The system was reviewed, and outcome data were analyzed for 2019 and 2020 based on recorded suspected suicides, a stakeholder focus group, evaluation of postvention bereavement service outcomes, and lessons learned.
Results: The benefits of RTSS included rapid response to emerging trends, identifying clusters, effective bereavement support, information to inform measures to mitigate risk, and supporting evaluation of interventions. The challenges faced included limited resources, data quality, consistency across places, and linkages with coronial processes.
Limitations: This was an evaluation of one RTSS system based on routinely collected data covering one area, South Yorkshire, and hence some data limitations, and direct comparison with other services or against a control group was not possible.
Conclusion: The RTSS system has led to better support for suicidal people and a responsive, timely, and effective service for those bereaved by suicide, all of which are likely to lead to enhanced well-being and community resilience.