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22nd January 2015
Gaps in suicide prevention provision around the country have been highlighted in a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention (APPG) which was launched on 20 January 2015.
Picture: Madeleine Moon MP, chair of the APPG, with Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support, at the launch of the report in Westminster.
A survey of local authorities in England by the APPG found that around 30 per cent do not have a local suicide prevention action plan, around 40 per cent do not have a multi-agency suicide prevention group and around 30 per cent do not collect local suicide data.
These actions are all seen as crucial to putting the government National Suicide Prevention Strategy into practice effectively. Public Health England (PHE) should use its 15 local centres across the country to encourage and support public health teams in areas where the survey data shows that the national strategy is not being fully implemented, the APPG said in its report.
Organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group (NSPSAG), the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) and other related organisations could also use the data to try and stimulate activity in areas where the strategy has not been fully implemented, the APPG said.*
Coroners should collect data about suicide which should be made available automatically to health teams, the APPG said, and Chief Coroner should issue guidance to Senior Coroners to allow public health teams easier access to their records.
Public Health England could advise on collecting the data locally and how it can be used, as well as pooling the figures over wider areas in order to better identify trends, the report added.
Madeleine Moon MP, chair of the APPG, said:
We were concerned that the lack of funding and requirement to report back to the Department of Health, alongside the changes in the NHS structure, would have a negative impact on suicide prevention. This report confirms our concern that at a local level the essential work to prevent suicide is just not happening. We also feel there is an urgent need to address the reported low level of suicide prevention activity across the Greater London area. Suicide remains the main killer of otherwise fit and healthy young males. Action must be taken to raise the priority and funding for suicide prevention.
The survey was carried out among 152 upper tier local authorities in England and 150, or 98 per cent, responded.
The National Suicide Prevention Strategy was published in September 2012 by the Department of Health and local public health teams are responsible for implementing the strategy.
* National charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide is a member of both the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.
This APPG Inquiry Report follows the APPG Report (January 2013).