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Government invests £25m to aid community suicide prevention

A new £25m three-year investment programme will see communities worst affected by suicide receive funding to develop suicide prevention and reduction schemes.

The funding, which has been allocated to eight areas across England, will be used to improve suicide prevention strategies and help drive better surveillance and collection of data on suicide, attempted suicide and self-harm.

The announcement from Department for Health and Social Care, Public Health England and NHS England forms part of the Government’s commitment to reduce suicides in England by 10% by 2021.

The investment has been assigned to areas with a high level of need, with the purpose of ensuring that people know high quality confidential help is available within their community.

This 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.

The funding will also be used to improve surveillance and collection of data on suicide, attempted suicide and self-harm.

NHS England director for mental health Claire Murdoch 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.’

PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie added: ‘Suicide destroys lives and is devastating for the loved ones they leave behind. We need to do everything we can to offer more help to people in distress and this is a big step towards that.’

Minister for mental health Jackie Doyle-Price said: ‘All local areas are developing suicide prevention plans and this work will support our "zero suicide" ambition in mental health inpatient units.’

This announcement comes as NICE confirmed that it would be undertaking a second consultation on the new depression guidelines, following expert concerns that the current recommendations would 'seriously impede good patient care and patient choice'. 

The areas set to receive funding are:

  • Kent and Medway
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Norfolk and Waveney
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Durham, Darlington, Teesside, Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby

Source: PHE