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New guidance from Public health England on Identifying and responding to suicide clusters and contagion

16th September 2015

Identifying and responding to suicide clusters and contagion: a practice resource

Ref: PHE publications gateway number: 2015314PDF1.6MB59 pages

This document is for people with responsibility for suicide prevention in local authorities and their partner agencies.

The document includes:

  • the meaning of the term ‘suicide clusters’
  • identification of suicide clusters
  • suggestions for who may be at risk of suicidal acts due to the influence of other people’s suicidal behaviour,
  • the mechanisms involved in suicide clusters
  • the effects of suicide on other individuals

The steps required at local level to prepare for a suicide cluster are described alongside suggested responses to possible suicide clusters.

Finally, best practice is provided on how to evaluate responses to a cluster, and on using the experience to improve further suicide prevention measures.

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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

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