Government has listened to us on suicide prevention strategy, says Samaritans

“Suicide devastates thousands of families, workplaces and communities in England every year. Government policy must therefore be powerful enough to create real change and prevent further tragedy.

Samaritans welcomes moves to improve suicide prevention through the government’s publication of an updated Suicide Prevention Strategy, which we believe will help save lives if fully implemented.

“Through our Local Action Saves Lives campaign we’ve been calling for every area to have an effective local suicide prevention plan and we’re pleased that the importance of these plans has been recognised as a key area for action in the strategy. It’s encouraging to see that 95% of England now has a plan in place, or at least in development. This is a vast improvement on 70% two years ago.

“Plans need to be robust, regularly evaluated and properly resourced to prevent needless deaths.  Having national scrutiny of these plans and the commitment to an annual update on their status is a very positive step forward.  We look forward to seeing how this will work and offering our expertise to maximise its impact.

“Self-harm is the strongest indicator of suicide risk so expanding the strategy to include self-harm prevention in its own right is another valuable step, and one that will be critical if the government is to reach its target to reduce suicide by 10% by 2020/21. 

“We’re also pleased to see moves to increase support for those bereaved by suicide, and promoting help-seeking in high risk groups such as middle-aged men as well as young men and women. With more than two-thirds of people who die by suicide not being in touch with mental health services in the year before their death, a public health approach is essential, reducing stigma and getting people to talk about how they’re feeling.

“Samaritans has led the way on supporting the media with the responsible reporting of suicide and huge strides have been made in this area over the last twenty years.  We’re pleased to see recognition of this work and will continue to focus on this important area.”  

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland