The first suicide prevention plan has been launched as a cross-government initiative. The Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price, will be leading the strategy that focuses on how technology and social media can work as tools to identify individuals who are at risk of suicide. It is hoped predictive analytics and artificial intelligence can work to prevent suicides.
The Suicide Prevention Plan covers a number of issues and has created a series of actions from different sectors including the criminal justice system, the NHS and the local government. Actions from the plan include;
- Addressing the needs of highest risk groups (such as middle-aged men) with £25 million funding
- Specific activities such as staff awareness and training for prison workers to reduce suicides and self-harm
- Creating a zero-suicide ambition plan 2019 for mental health inpatients
- Having an effective suicide prevention plan for every local authority
- Increased research on aspects linked to suicide such as addiction and debt.
To help with these actions, the government plans to improve the data they hold on the causes of death among veterans. This will help the government to understand that triggers that can cause individuals to take their own life. Furthermore, social media companies will be asked to take more responsibility when content appears that promotes self-harm and suicide.
Suicides statistics in England
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people
- It is also the leading cause of death for men under 50
- 4,500 people in England take their own life each year
- 13 individuals commit suicide every day
- Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.
The Suicide Prevention Plan comes just months after the first Suicide Prevention Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, was announced. Her role is to lead activities listed in the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and now the Suicide Prevention Plan which sits under and supports the strategy.
Speaking at the launch of the plan, Jackie Doyle-Price said; “Together, we will do everything in our power to meet our ambition to reduce suicides by at least 10% by 2020 – and I look forward to working collaboratively with social media and tech companies to help achieve our ambitions.”
The SEO of the charity, Samaritans, Ruth Sutherland added; “We welcome the publication of the work plan and hope it will help save more lives. Every 6 seconds someone contacts Samaritans volunteers for support, so we know that there is a huge amount to be done to help those struggling to cope.”