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Government launches suicide prevention plan

mental health support

By Valeria Fiore
Reporter
24 January 2019

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Local governments, NHS organisations and prisons will be monitored as part of a new cross-government suicide prevention plan, the Government has announced.

The plan, which supports the 2012 national suicide prevention strategy, was launched on Tuesday.

It ‘set out clear deliverables and timescales’ to monitor each organisation’s progress against the Government’s targets.

New minister for mental health and suicide prevention Jackie Doyle-Price will lead on the implementation of the plan, through which the Government hopes to meet the Five Year Forward View ambition to reduce the number of suicides in England by 10% by 2020.

Currently around 4,500 people die by suicide in England every year.

As part of the plan, Ms Doyle-Price will also look into the use of ‘technology and predictive analytics to identify those most at risk of suicide’, the plan said.

Targets for the NHS and local authorities

Last year, the then health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt said ‘a zero suicide strategy’ should be adopted in every mental health trust in England and that all staff should be trained in suicide prevention.

In line with this announcement, all mental health trusts will now need to implement a zero suicide ambition plan by the end of 2018/19.

Mental health trusts are also expected to start reporting inpatient suicides during 2018/19.

All local authorities will have to have suicide prevention plans in place by March 2019, and Public Health England is currently supporting the last two local authorities that don’t yet have such plans in place.

An updated version of the local authority suicide prevention guidance is expected to be released in March 2019, according to the plan.

Local authorities have also completed a self-assessment of their own strategies and their findings will be examined by an expert panel to inform the priorities of the sector-led improvement programme.

The programme, which replaces the national performance framework, will start from April 2019.

‘Support vulnerable and at-risk people’

NHS England will work with partners and use the £25m announced last year for suicide prevention to assist higher risk groups, including middle-aged men and young people, the Government said.

Ms Doyle-Price said: ‘As a society we need to do everything we can to support vulnerable and at-risk people, as well as those in crisis, and give them the help they desperately need.

‘I will be working with local councils, the NHS and the justice system to make sure suicide prevention plans are put in place across public services.’

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