A new consultation on preventing suicide has been launched today by the Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow. Bereaved families and experts in general practice, local government, transport, mental health and criminal justice will all help to inform a new strategy to be published in the New Year following a 3-month consultation phase.
One person dies every two hours as a result of suicide in England – the Government is determined to do all it can to prevent suicides. The suicide strategy will place a new emphasis on family members. This means working with relatives to prevent a vulnerable person taking their own life and better supporting those who have been bereaved following a suicide.
The consultation calls for views on six areas of action:
- Reduce the risk of suicide in key high risk groups such as prisoners;
- Tailor approaches to improve mental health in specific groups such as veterans and people with depression or alcohol addiction;
- Reduce access to the means of suicide in order to reduce the number of suicides;
- Provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by a suicide;
- Support the media in delivering sensible and sensitive approaches to suicide and suicidal behaviour; and
- Support research, data collection and monitoring.
The 2011 Annual Report of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness has also been published today and reveals:
- Patient suicides have fallen from a peak of 1,315 in 2004 to 1,196 in 2008. The number of patient suicides has been under 1,200 for the last three years.
- In‐patient suicides in England are at their lowest level since 1997 with 94 recorded in 2008 compared to 214 in the first year of the Annual Report.
- The number of suicides by patients who refused treatment fell over the decade from 245 in 1997 to 154, although there was a slight rise between 2007 and 2008.
If you need help
If you need help and support now and you live in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, please call the Samaritans on 116 123.
If you live elsewhere, we recommend finding a local Crisis Centre on the IASP website.
We also highly recommend that you visit the Connecting with People: Staying Safe resource.
Consultation on preventing suicide in England: a cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives. Department of Health, 19th July 2011.
Help is at hand: a resource for people bereaved by suicide and other sudden, traumatic death. Department of Health, 28th April 2010.
The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (PDF). Annual report for England, Wales and Scotland, 19th July 2011.
Suicide is an important issue by itself – and clearly support for the bereaved, and for relatives and carer-friends, as well as any emotionally involved professionals, are really important.
We should as a start be able to link medical records and have an intensive support programme available in aftermath of a suicide, suicide attempt; and also much earlier! Such as support flagged and available through GP awareness and linking to support groups or short term advice worker/counsellors/nurses. This should be like asthma management and cancer screening routine events, but triggered (in the computer system database?) particularly by events within a family unit such as suicide or attempted suicide but all levels of mental illness and big events like neonatal illness and death and near-death illness and extreme illness such as requires extensive hospitalisation or crisis intervention, and any long term stress events.
At the moment mothers bereaved neonatally sort-of drop off the system in all the wrong places, often. And familial patterns of stress disability and mental illness and social services intervention are horrendously complicated and time-consuming not joined up or effective quite the way they should.
Good-will and extreme hard slog on the part of professionals can be misdirected by the system in weekly sessions spent mostly passing information on about what other clinicians and proffessionals have said is my experience and is not effective for the family in receipt of care. Intensive support has been mentioned elsewhere in mental elf reports I read today – better than community treatment orders in severe mental health problems, so maybe there is some cross-relevancy.
This intensive support programme may effectively and financially have to be enabling the family and friends or communities of interest or unconnected peers to come round in support in some way – food and sleep, exercise and hygiene routine stabilisation, summary factual information with trustworthy sources, tools and strategies for coping, positive habits, chewing the fat, companionship, positive contribution outlets, sense of control, comfort, reassurance. But these outcomes should be the intermediate focus – life goals being later, immediate safety I suppose the initial thought.
Having said that, my evidence for the effectiveness of intensive support is a gut feelings and sightings of other reasearch. My weekly therapy sessions became a bit too intense. The ability to guide the person to live up to their own safer aspirations is important, where the simplicity to be lightweight rather than opressively intensive and beyond coping ability that way.
There is some good information out there on ways to help suicidal people if you look for it, maybe directing the client to search for it is a good start? Sense of self-control and power rather than needing to wrestle the system to even to begin to get out of the personal hell-hole – that is a real clincher. Sometimes it can come by itself, sometimes it needs help. People are like little intra-nets on the web, sometimes a nasty worm can attack and both the attack and the solution can be independently localised or spreading fast. We know what configuration we prefer!
That is, i’ve mainly had the support i’m dissing and seem slowly to be coming out the other side!
[…] study recommends that, as part of the Government’s ongoing consultation on preventing suicide, they should consider making local suicide audits compulsory and that coroners’ duty to share […]