The Department of Health has launched a Consultation on preventing suicide in England, which will inform a new cross-government strategy to save lives. The document notes that over the last 10 years progress has been made in reducing the already comparatively low suicide rate to record low levels. However, the past couple of years have seen a slight increase.

The consultation document sets out a draft suicide prevention strategy aimed at sustaining and further reducing the rates of suicide in England. It also aims to address the issue of support for those affected by suicide.  

The strategy identifies six key areas for action:  

  • to reduce the risk of suicide in key high risk groups;
  • to tailor approaches to improve mental health in specific groups;
  • to reduce access to the means of suicide;
  • to provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by a suicide;
  • to support the media in delivering sensible and sensitive approaches to suicide and suicidal behaviour; and
  • to support research, data collection and monitoring.

It is intended that much of the planning and work to prevent suicides will be carried out locally. The proposed strategy gives details of how local partnerships can work together to achieve suicide prevention and how this will be supported by national initiatives. The emphasis is on using evidence based approaches as early as possible to avoid the need for more expensive interventions later on.

The consultation period runs from 19 July 2011 until 11 October 2011.