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Government pledges funding for suicide prevention

The Government has today announced that it will provide extra funding for research into suicide among at-risk groups.

The Suicide Prevention Strategy will focus on supporting bereaved families and those who are deemed at risk of suicidal behaviour. Launched today, the £1.5 million strategy aims to reduce the suicide rate in England, as well as offer help to those who have been affected.

Announced by Care Services Minister Norman Lamb,  the strategy will seek to gain a better understanding of the reasons people commit suicide. It will also work with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to help educate parents in how to prevent children from accessing material online which may be harmful.

The means for people to commit suicide will be looked at in places such as prisons and mental health facilities, with buildings and storage of items such as drugs and ligature re-examined.

Better support will be provided for high-risk groups - such as those with mental health problems and people who self-harm - by making sure the health service effectively manages the mental wellbeing of those patients with self-inflicted injuries.

The strategy also aims to improve services for groups like children and young people and ensuring the mental health needs of those with long-term conditions are being met through the Government's mental health strategy.

Lamb said of the strategy, "Effective suicide prevention requires combined effort from a wide range of organisations across the voluntary, statutory and private sectors. That is why I'm delighted that almost 50 national organisations have responded to the call to action and why we have worked with Samaritans in order to help provide support to those most in need.”

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “Any suicide is an individual tragedy of huge proportions. The effects may be felt by families for generations, and anybody touched by suicide will know that while tragic, the reasons are never simple.

While health staff and others do have considerable expertise in working to prevent suicide, identifying those at risk and responding is still an enormous challenge.

Nurses working in all fields will welcome this further research into the multiple causes of suicide, in the hope that more can be done for every person who may be at risk.

The Government is right that preventing suicide is a matter for everybody, and health staff such as nurses will want to play their part alongside others."

Do you think the Government is doing enough to help reduce the number of suicides?