Two elderly people looking worried

Friday 10 September 2021 marks World Suicide Prevention Day. This yearly campaign aims to raise awareness of suicide around the world.

Did you know...? Around 800,000 people die worldwide by suicide every year, that’s 1 person every 40 seconds. For each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts (WHO). Men aged 45-49 and women aged 50-54 had the highest suicide rates in England and Wales in 2019. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds (Samaritans). 

Stigma about suicide still exists. There are many myths surrounding suicide so it’s important to fully understand the topic to ensure effective help is available and appropriate strategies are delivered across systems. The Samaritans outline a few of these myths on their website. They also have a large number of ongoing campaigns to support suicide prevention such as ‘Small Talk Saves Lives.' This particular campaign encourages people to spark small conversations that could help save a life.

Are there any campaigns on this topic?

There is a great deal of activity promoting transformation in this area and many ongoing campaigns in support. The WHO has published an implementation guide for suicide prevention called ‘LIVE LIFE’. It provides a starting point for countries to build on and further develop into a national suicide prevention strategy. The Samaritans also have a large number of ongoing campaigns to support this cause such as the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign. 

What do the NHS strategies say about this...?

NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV) – The NHS FYFV view set clear recommendations for suicide prevention and reduction, as well as committing to nationally reduce suicides by 10% by 2020/21. All local areas now also have a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place. 

NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) – The LTP has committed to expanding mental health service investment faster than the NHS budget overall for each year over the next 5 years (at least an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24). Building on the FYFV view, the LTP aims for every ICS to receive investment for a localised suicide reduction programme by 2023/24. The reduction of suicides will continue to be a priority for the NHS for the next decade. A new Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme focusing on suicide prevention and reduction in the number of mental health inpatients will also be designed. Alongside this, suicide bereavement support for families, and staff working in mental health crisis services, will be available within all systems, as those who are bereaved are also at high risk. Using the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme, NHSEI will also use decision-support tools and machine learning to augment the ability to deliver personalised care as well as predict future behaviour (e.g. self-harm or suicide risk). 

NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 – The implementation plan aims that 'by 2023/24: The current suicide prevention programme will cover every local area in the country. All systems will have suicide bereavement support services providing timely and appropriate support to families and staff in place'.

How is SCW supporting this issue...?

The SCW Mental Health Team continues to support organisations across the NHS in the area of mental health, a large risk factor for suicide.

Read more about our work in the area of mental health

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