Gaps in suicide prevention provision around the country have been highlighted in a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention (APPG) which is being launched today
A survey of local authorities in England by the APPG found that around 30 per cent do not have a local suicide prevention action plan, around 40 per cent do not have a multi-agency suicide prevention group and around 30 per cent do not collect local suicide data.
These actions are all seen as crucial to putting the government National Suicide Prevention Strategy into practice effectively. Public Health England (PHE) should use its 15 local centres across the country to encourage and support public health teams in areas where the survey data shows that the national strategy is not being fully implemented, the APPG said in its report.
Organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Group (NSPSG), the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) and other related organisations could also use the data to try and stimulate activity in areas where the strategy has not been fully implemented, the APPG said.
Coroners should collect data about suicide which should be made available automatically to health teams, the APPG said, and Chief Coroner should issue guidance to Senior Coroners to allow public health teams easier access to their records.
PHE could advise on collecting the data locally and how it can be used, as well as pooling the figures over wider areas in order to better identify trends, the report added.
Joe Ferns, Samaritans’ Executive Director of Policy, said: “It is really important that action is planned and delivered locally to ensure the National Suicide Prevention Strategy is put into practice in every area of the country.
“We know that areas of deprivation are likely to have higher suicide rates and so it is particularly worrying that many of these areas do not have suicide prevention plans in place.”
Madeleine Moon MP, chair of the APPG said: “We were concerned that the lack of funding and requirement to report back to the Department of Health, alongside the changes in the NHS structure, would have a negative impact on suicide prevention.
“This report confirms our concern that at a local level the essential work to prevent suicide is just not happening. We also feel there is an urgent need to address the reported low level of suicide prevention activity across the Greater London area. Suicide remains the main killer of otherwise fit and healthy young males. Action must be taken to raise the priority and funding for suicide prevention.”
For more information about the work of Samaritans, please contact Samaritans’ press office on: 020 8394 8300 or email [email protected]
– ENDS –
Notes to editors:
The survey was carried out among 152 upper tier local authorities in England and 150, or 98 per cent, responded.
The local suicide prevention strategy for England was published in September 2012 by the Department of Health, and local public health teams are responsible for implementing the strategy.
Local initiatives to support the suicide prevention strategy would include:
- Suicide training for frontline staff in key areas, such as health and social services, who work with high risk groups
- Identifying children and young people with mental health problems early and making appropriate support available
- Installing safety measures such as barriers or signs with Samaritans contact details at locations which are a high risk for suicide
- Samaritans run courses for organisations in the private, public and third sectors to equip employees with the skills and confidence they need when coming into contact with vulnerable people.
- Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123, email or visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of your nearest branch.