Tailored support should be offered to people affected by suspected suicide.
This is the message from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in its quality standard on Suicide prevention published this week.
On World Suicide Prevention Day 2019, NICE has published its quality standard on suicide prevention – covering five key ways to reduce suicide and help people bereaved or affected by suicide.
The Office for National Statistics published data which showed the suicide rate in the UK has risen for the first time since 2013, with 11.2 deaths recorded as suicide per 100,000 people in 2018 - up from 10.1 in 2017.
Those who are bereaved or affected by a suspected suicide are themselves at increased risk of suicide, according to the data.
Providing support after a suspected suicide can reduce this risk, especially when tailored to the person’s needs. It is important to identify people who may need support as soon as possible so that they can be given practical information and access support if, and when, they need to, NICE states.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE said: “Suicide can have a devastating and traumatic experience for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. It is a difficult subject to talk about and too often it’s not clear what help is available.
“Bereavement support can help reduce the risk of those affected by a suicide taking their own life. It is important that service providers such as police, hospitals, ambulance services and GPs identify people to give information to and to ask if they need help.
“No one should have to go through the unexpected death of someone dear to them alone and by offering information and tailored support, those affected can be supported both emotionally and practically.”
NICE states that this tailored support should be focused on the person’s individual needs. As well as professional support, it could include:
- support from trained peers who have been bereaved or affected by a suicide or suspected suicide
- adjustments to working patterns or the regime in residential custodial and detention settings
- other support identified in Public Health England’s Support after a suicide: a guide to providing local services and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance’s Support after a suicide: developing and delivering local bereavement support services
A book developed by Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance – Help is at Hand – has been highlighted as a good resource offering emotional and practical support/advice for those left bereaved by a suspected suicide.
As part of the Long Term Plan, NHS England has committed to ensuring all areas in the country are funded to develop bereavement support services for families and staff who are bereaved by suicide.