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NICE issue guidelines on suicide prevention in community settings

Guidelines for suicide prevention have been set out in an attempt to reduce the number of people taking their lives in public spaces and prisons

Guidelines for suicide prevention have been set out in an attempt to reduce the number of people taking their lives in public spaces and prisons

The draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) makes recommendations covering how local services can work together and provide support.

Approximately 6,000 people take their own life each year in the UK, according to NICE and many are not in contact with mental health services or GPs for clinical interventions.

Recommendations

The guidelines, which are open for consultation until April this year, recommend:

  • Multi-agency partnerships for suicide prevention in the community
  • Local authorities set up and lead a multi-agency partnership on suicide prevention including representatives from local public health services, clinical commissioning groups and primary and secondary care providers
  • Custodial or detention settings should set

Guidelines for suicide prevention have been set out in an attempt to reduce the number of people taking their lives in public spaces and prisons


Picture: Alamy

The draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) makes recommendations covering how local services can work together and provide support.

Approximately 6,000 people take their own life each year in the UK, according to NICE and many are not in contact with mental health services or GPs for clinical interventions.

Recommendations

The guidelines, which are open for consultation until April this year, recommend:

  • Multi-agency partnerships for suicide prevention in the community
  • Local authorities set up and lead a multi-agency partnership on suicide prevention including representatives from local public health services, clinical commissioning groups and primary and secondary care providers
  • Custodial or detention settings should set up a similar multi-agency partnership which include prison healthcare staff
  • The partnerships should develop suicide prevention strategies, including raising awareness such as suicide prevention campaigns and encourage people to receive support from charities like the Samaritans

NICE recommends reviewing local and national suicide data to ensure the strategy is as effective as possible, and also suggests using procedures published by Public Health England on developing a local suicide prevention action plan, which all local areas are due to have in place later this year.

Contingency plans

Partnerships in the community should also help local institutions such as schools and universities prepare contingency plans to respond to a suicide.

Physical barriers such as fences and netting in problem sites such as bridges may be enough to make people reconsider their intentions, according to NICE.

NICE centre for guidelines director Mark Baker said: ‘Suicide is not inevitable. Physical barriers at problem sites like bridges and rail stations can make people stop and think. Evidence shows that if a barrier stops someone taking their life in one place they will not automatically try again somewhere else. Using this opportunity to direct people to seek help may save their life.’

Increased government funding needed

Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland welcomed the guidelines but added: ‘For these guidelines to have any impact, they have to actually be implemented, and targeted at those at greatest risk. That will take increased government funding and resources, in particular in areas where individuals and communities are facing deprivation.’

Read the draft NICE guidelines


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