Thirteen people a day in the UK die by suicide and everyone needs to be committed to saving more lives
Suicide Prevention Minister Jackie Doyle-Price addressed the fifth annual National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) conference today.
“We need to continue to rise to the challenge of providing more services, support local authorities so that they can implement effective suicide prevention locally, and go further to reach high risk groups,” the Minister said.
Speaking to a room packed with 280 delegates, Ms Doyle-Price talked about the Government’s ongoing commitment to suicide prevention, and the need to concentrate on high-risk groups, including middle aged men, service veterans and to address the emerging trends relating to young people.
Ms Doyle-Price also stressed the importance of the work the voluntary sector do in suicide prevention.
Professor Louis Appleby, who chairs the National Suicide Prevention National Advisory Group, said that although suicide rates in England have been falling, with around 500 fewer deaths a year, the exception was young people under 20, where the rates have been rising since 2010.
There was also evidence that the suicide figures for 2018 in England could show a small rise, he told the conference.
More protection was needed for young people online, as there was evidence that they are accessing suicide-related content, and self-harm material, he added.
Rising rates of self-harm, particularly among young women, was also a cause for concern, Professor Appleby said, with one survey showing that a quarter of the young women interviewed admitted to having self-harmed.
The conference also heard from Charley James, who, when talking about her experience of being suicidal, said there was an urgent need to talk about suicidal thoughts and feelings and what they meant, to reduce stigma and make it easier for people to access treatment.
The conference also heard from NSPA members working across the field and sharing best practice in areas including: building safer school communities, peer training for GPs, reaching men through sport, crisis support, reducing self-harm and including people with personal experience in planning suicide prevention services.
NSPA co-chair Brian Dow said: “The NSPA conference is the biggest and most important collection of people working in the suicide prevention arena. I find it massively humbling that people come here both to share their ideas and practice, and to improve the outcomes for people who are at risk.
“I definitely detect a growing enthusiasm for tackling what has been an issue with a large amount of stigma. While there has been some progress, and the figures have stabilised a little, there is definitely no room for complacency,” he said.
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