Suicide Prevention Drive Launched in England Amid Concern For Young People

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The Government has launched a suicide prevention strategy, pledging more than 100 actions intended to bring down rates within two and a half years.

Ministers have vowed to reduce suicide rates in England with the launch of more than 100 new initiatives amid particular concerns over rising deaths and self-harm among children and young people.

The strategy comes amid concern for children and young people as deaths and self-harm are on the rise. In 2022, there were 5,275 suicides in England, equating to 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The initiatives include teaching suicide prevention in schools, better support for middle-aged men and a national alert system to highlight new methods of suicide.

The last prevention strategy was published more than a decade ago.

The Government has outlined ambitions to reduce suicide rates over the next five years, as well as improving support for people who have self-harmed and those bereaved by suicide.

“While overall the current suicide rate is not significantly higher than in 2012, the rate is not falling,” According to a Government document published on Monday. “There is therefore much more we must all do to save more lives.”

It added: “We must do all we can to prevent more suicides, save many more lives and ultimately reduce suicide rates.”

The new measures being launched will also aid other specific groups at risk of suicide, including middle-aged men, autistic people, pregnant women and new mothers.

Steve Barclay, the health secretary, said: “Too many people are still affected by the tragedy of suicide, which is so often preventable. This national cross-government strategy details over 100 actions we’ll take to ensure anyone experiencing the turmoil of a crisis has access to the urgent support they need.”

Teaching suicide prevention in schools, better support for middle-aged men and a national alert system to highlight new methods of suicide could all help to bring down suicide rates in England, according to the government’s new strategy.

The other initiatives outlined in the plans include:

Medical experts to review whether reducing the amount of paracetamol people can buy in shops could help bring down suicide rates.
The Department for Education (DfE) to examine whether suicide and self-harm prevention should be part of the school curriculum.
Half of schools in England to have mental health support teams in place by April 2025. The DfE will also offer all state schools and colleges funding to train a senior mental health lead by 2025.

Ensuring pregnant women and new mothers get support at “every contact” with health professionals, who will be required to update a risk assessment at each appointment.
Crisis text lines to be rolled out in all areas of England.
Ministers pledged tailored and targeted support to priority groups including those at higher risk of suicide, such as middle-aged men, children and young people, those who have self-harmed, mental health service users, autistic people, pregnant women and new mothers, and those “in contact with the justice system”.

Others thought to be at higher risk include gambling addicts, victims of domestic abuse, substance addicts, people in financial difficulties, people who have a physical illness and those who are isolated or lonely.

Mental health groups cautiously welcomed the strategy but said funding would be key if it was to be successful.