The first annual report on England’s cross-government suicide prevention strategy, Preventing Suicide in England: One year On sets out key actions that local areas can take to prevent suicides.
It highlights the importance of responsive and high quality care for people who self-harm. And includes a joint statement on better sharing of information between organisations and families, to help prevent suicide.
Around half of the 4,500 people who die by suicide each year have a history of self-harm. Evidence shows when people who have suicidal thoughts or have self-harmed have psychological assessments, it helps to prevent suicidal behaviour and means better outcomes for patients.
For the first time hospitals will publish annual figures on the number of people who attended accident and emergency for self-harm and whether they received the psychological assessment recommended by NICE.
In addition, a new agreement between the government and health and care professionals has been agreed which is designed to promote greater sharing of information with health professionals and family or friends, within the context of the law.
This follows concerns raised by families that doctors and other health professionals seem reluctant to take information from them and have not communicated information about a patient’s suicide risk to their family.
The joint statement means healthcare professional will be better able to:
- listen to the views of family members and friends, who may offer insight into a loved ones’ state of mind which can help with care or treatment
- support people who may want to share information with their families or friends about thoughts they might be having.
- provide advice to families and carers about support services available and steps they can take to help keep a loved one safe
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:
We have heard from families bereaved by suicide that they feel there is sometimes more they felt they could do. Health professionals can be understandably worried about whether to share information – this will make sure they can be confident listening and talking to families to make sure patients get the right support.
We want to reduce suicides by ensuring those most at risk are better supported.