New suicide prevention toolkits for community, emergency and general practice staff


The prevention of suicide in inpatient mental health settings has long been a focus for clinicians and managers.

Understanding what can be done in community, emergency and general practice settings to reduce the number of suicides has presented more of a challenge.

This briefing introduces the National Patient Safety Agency’s (NPSA) new suicide prevention toolkits for community, emergency and general practice staff, launched in December 2011, and outlines their benefits for providers, illustrated by the experience of some pilot sites.

Key points from the briefing include:

  • Over 4,000 suicides occur in the UK each year; 74 per cent of suicide victims are not known to mental health services
  • Around 200,000 cases of self-harm (an indicator of suicide risk) are seen by hospital services each year
  • Community, emergency and general practice staff have an important role in identifying and caring for people at risk of suicide
  • New toolkits can help community and emergency services and general practices understand what can be done to prevent suicide

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.


Preventing suicide through community and emergency healthcare (PDF). NHS Confederation Mental Health Network, 5 Dec 2011.

Preventing suicide toolkits are available on the NHS Confederation website for the following areas:

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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