Samaritans Cymru have today welcomed a new report on suicide prevention in Wales, released by National Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee.
In 2017, 360 people died by suicide in Wales; this is around 3 times the number killed in road accidents. 77% of these suicides were by men, which means the male rate is now more than 3 times higher than the female rate. The figures also show that men aged 40-44 have the highest suicide rate in Wales and that rates are 2 -3 times higher in the most deprived areas compared to the most affluent.
The new report makes a number of recommendations which Samaritans Cymru believe hold the potential to reach those who most at risk of suicide in Wales. Samaritans Cymru provided significant evidence to the committee during the inquiry and have particularly welcomed its strong focus on a suicide prevention training framework, better support for those bereaved by suicide and post-hospital support for those who have attempted suicide, who are 1.7 times more likely to attempt suicide themselves.
Sarah Stone, Executive Director for Samaritans in Wales said:
"We are delighted to welcome this new report on suicide prevention in Wales. It’s recommendations could deliver real change and save lives right across Wales. In particular, we believe the introduction of a national suicide prevention training framework could help to support those who are most vulnerable.
People experiencing emotional distress and suicidal behaviour continue to present at clinical settings such as A&E or their local GP. However, our work with partners and stakeholders, shows that frequently, people present in community settings such as foodbanks, jobcentres and banks, and to frontline services, such as police and fire and rescue. Only 1 in 3 people who die by suicide have been in contact with mental health services in the year before their death and therefore, it is crucial we provide training to staff who are often supporting the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Samaritans Cymru, who will be speaking at the launch of ‘Everybody’s business’ today, have previously called for a number of measures to improve suicide prevention in Wales, including compulsory mental health education in schools. During today’s launch, they will state their support for the report and discuss their views on the importance of recognizing inequality in suicide and the importance of acting compassionately.
Sarah Stone said:
“In Wales, suicide is a major public health issue but significantly, it’s also a major inequality issue. We know that poverty is linked to people taking their own lives but we also know that suicide is not inevitable and that there are actions we can take so that difficult times do not result in people dying. We must adopt a compassionate approach to those experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage or emotional distress and we would like to thank the committee for highlighting our ‘Working with Compassion’ toolkit. Inequality and suicide risk are integrally linked and it is essential that we treat disadvantaged individuals and communities with fairness and respect. This report will help communities to do this; suicide is everybody’s business.”