Government rolls out national suicide prevention strategy

The UK government has introduced a comprehensive five-year initiative aimed at tackling the rising rates of suicide. 

It aims to provide mental health support for groups identified as being at risk, including young people, middle-aged men, healthcare staff, autistic people and new mothers. 

In 2022, the Office for National Statistics reported 5,275 suicides in England, resulting in a rate of 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people. The government says it is committed to reversing these concerning trends over the next two and a half years. 

As one of the 100+ initiatives featured in the plan, a national alert system will be introduced to offer updated guidance to first responders, as well as create awareness around new methods of suicide. 

It is hoped this up-to-date discourse and information around suicide will help create improved support networks and ultimately, combat tragic and preventable deaths in the UK. 

The report arrives following the publication of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, which sets out to increase the mental health workforce by 73% by 2036/37. 

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “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.

“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.

“We’re working at pace to achieve this, and we continue to invest billions of pounds to transform and improve our nation’s mental health services and – most importantly – save lives.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health or thoughts of self-harm, please reach out to a trusted healthcare professional, such as your GP or call 999 in an emergency. 

All NHS staff can access the mental health and wellbeing hubs for free services and support.

carlette Isaac

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