Samaritans responds to the National Confidential Inquiry's figures on suspected suicides during lockdown in England
"Suicide is a tragedy that devastates friends, families and communities. While the data published by the National Confidential Inquiry indicates that suicide rates during lockdown in England have not been impacted in the way that many of us were concerned about, we must not be complacent. Suicide is a major public health issue and this data does indicate that the trend we have seen over the last two years is unlikely to have reversed.
"Neither the data released by NCISH or the pandemic itself should alter our direction for action on suicide, but rather strengthen and increase it. For too long, low-income middle-aged men have struggled without adequate support, and people who self-harm are ping-ponged between services, unable to access the support they need. We need effective support for these groups most at risk of suicide, when they need it and before they reach crisis point.
"We have already seen the detrimental impact that the pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health. To address this, we urgently need a mental health renewal plan that ensures action is taken to support those who are struggling now and in the future. Alongside this, we need a comprehensive national real time monitoring system for suspected suicides that will allow us to monitor and respond to new concerns within particular groups of people or areas of the country.
"Suicide is complex and rarely caused by one thing, but we know that it is not inevitable. We have to do more to support those at risk and get suicide rates on the decline once more.
"It’s important that we all we look after our own mental health and others by continuing to check in on anyone who may be struggling, and encourage them to reach out for support, whether it’s with a friend, family member or a confidential helpline like Samaritans.
"Anyone can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123 or via email [email protected] For more information visit www.samaritans.org."
Jacqui Morrissey, Samaritans Assistant Director of Research and Influencing
Read more about the new suicide data from NCISH