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New funding to help cut suicides

Prevention campaigns will target high-risk groups including men and those who self-harm

Mark Gould

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Eight areas across England with the highest rates of suicide are to receive extra resources to provide more help and support for at-risk groups such as young males and those who self-harm.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care figures one person every 90 minutes dies by suicide in the UK and approximately two-thirds of these are not in contact with mental health services.

The funding, which has been allocated to eight sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs), will help to ensure people know high-quality confidential help is available within their community.

It will include targeted prevention campaigns for men; psychological support for people with financial difficulties; better care after discharge; and improved self-harm services for all ages.

NHS England says the funds are set to improve suicide prevention strategies, signposting and raising awareness through to improving quality for safer services and will help drive better surveillance and collection of data on suicide, attempted suicide and self-harm.

It builds upon major work from all local authorities to put multi-agency suicide plans in place, and work for a close join up between health services, public health teams and the voluntary sector.

The investment by the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England marks the start of a three year programme worth £25 million that will reach the whole country by 2021.

It forms part of the government’s commitment to reduce suicides in England by 10% by 2021 and will support the zero suicide ambition for mental health inpatients announced by secretary of state Jeremy Hunt in January of this year.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England director for Mental Health, said: "The NHS is committed to improving mental health services and increasing people’s access to help, when they need it the most. Working closely with families, councils, government and charities like the Samaritans, the additional funding and suicide prevention plans confirmed today will mean more people in crisis, in some of the most under-served parts of the country, will be able to get the crucial support they need.

"Working closely with those who have been impacted by suicide and those with national expertise, including the Samaritans, the areas to receive funding this year have been identified due to their high level of need and will focus on particularly at-risk groups such as men and those who self-harm."

Alongside local plans, all STPs will be working with the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to improve quality and safety within their mental health services. This includes implementing evidence from their 20 years of reviews, such as ‘Ten Ways to Improve Safety’.

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