Health Select Committee interim report on suicide prevention

The House of Commons Health Select Committee have published their interim report on suicide prevention. They have provided a strongly worded conclusion and clear recommendations that more needs to be done.
  1. The refreshed suicide prevention strategy must be underpinned by a clear implementation strategy, with strong national leadership, clear accountability, and regular and transparent external scrutiny.
  2. The Government’s updated strategy should include a clear implementation programme, with strong external scrutiny of local authority plans and progress. Local areas also need a clear message from the top that suicide prevention plans are mandatory.
  3. Different suicide prevention approaches are needed to effectively target different distinct groups of people at risk from suicide, including greater emphasis on public mental health and wellbeing as well as ongoing efforts to reduce stigma.
  4. All suicide prevention plans should include mandatory provision of support services for families who have been bereaved by suicide.
  5. Although a patient’s right to confidentiality is paramount, there are instances where professionals sharing information—with consent—with a person’s trusted family or friends could save their life. Stronger action needs to be taken to raise awareness of the Consensus Statement, to train staff in this area, and to engender a culture shift away from the current presumption that suicidal patients will not want their family or friends to be involved in their recovery.
  6. There is a need for a more rapid provisional notification of suicide at the time when a suspected death by suicide occurs. We recommend that the Government take action to improve consistency between coroners and to make routine the use of provisional notifications of suicide. Furthermore, we recommend that the standard of proof for conclusions of death by suicide should be changed to the balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt.
  7. The suicide prevention strategy should review the accountability and responsibility for the adherence to media guidelines and that  the Government work with internet providers and social media platforms to consider what changes should be made to restrict access to sites which encourage self harm or give detailed advice on suicide methods. The report can be accessed here.
Posted on December 20th, 2016
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