UNITED KINGDOM: New strategy to cut suicides “achievable,” says Clegg

February 06, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


“We have to break this hidden assumption that nothing can be done to stop people killing themselves,” said United Kingdom Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, in an announcement about a new strategy for suicide prevention to be piloted in the nation’s health care system. Mersey Care NHS Trust [a behavioral health care agency for Liverpool and the surrounding region] will launch a model based on Zero Suicide, an approach that has successfully reduced suicide among patients in Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System. Measures will include improving data collection to better understand patients’ risks and needs; improving the care offered to people who are treated for self-harm at emergency departments; and creating a “Safe from Suicide” expert assessment team for patients who are having suicidal thoughts. Marjorie Wallace, who directs the mental health organization Sane, noted the importance of ensuring that such programs have the resources they need to succeed: “Any reduction in suicides pledged by the government will never be achieved until it is accepted that psychiatric beds and units must be restored or replaced, and that we do not rely on overstretched crisis teams.”

Spark Extra: Learn more about the Zero Suicide approach to reducing suicides in health care systems.