A person holding another person's hand to comfort them depicting mental health and suicide

Govt launches five-year suicide prevention strategy

The rate of suicide in England will be reduced within the next two-and-a-half years, the government has pledged as it launches its new national suicide prevention strategy.

The five-year plan outlines more than 100 measures to help save more lives going forward.

This includes a new alert system that will notify relevant institutions (schools, universities, charities etc.) of emerging methods of suicide and new risks, as well as how to tackle them.

In the same vein, guidance to first responders will be offered so as to recognise new methods and how these incidents should be dealt with.

Almost real-time surveillance of trends in suicide will be implemented on a national level this year; this will enable more timely and targeted actions, according to the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care will also partner with other countries to inhibit the supply of lethal substances.

The need for potential regulatory changes will be explored by the government, alongside the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The strategy also outlines actions for specific groups; it features a commitment to make sure employers in male-dominated industries have access to mental health first aiders, for example.

This is against the backdrop of middle-aged men having the highest rate of suicide compared to any other group of people since 2010.

Maria Caulfield, minister for mental health, commented: “This strategy will bolster the work this government is already undertaking to reduce the number of suicides, and help us intervene where needed as early as possible.”

The government also draws attention to the NHS long-term workforce plan ambition of growing the mental health workforce by 73% within the next 13-14 years.

“It’s imperative we support people earlier to prevent them reaching the lowest point, while tackling emerging methods of suicide, and eradicating harmful material online,” added health secretary, Steve Barclay.

The publication coincides with world suicide prevention day and comes just a few months after the leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, unveiled his plan for the NHS, which included a pledge to cut suicide rates.

Oliver Chantler, the Mental Health Foundation’s head of policy and public affairs, outlined what that pledge should mean in practice for our online magazine.

Click here to read the full five-year national suicide prevention strategy.

Image credit: iStock

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