The government has published the first cross-government suicide prevention plan. The plan has a focus on how social media and the latest technology, such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, can identify those at risk of suicide.
The plan will be led by the Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Jackie Doyle-Price. It sets out actions for local government, the NHS and the criminal justice system to deliver up to 2020 to carry out the suicide prevention strategy for England.
The plan commits the government to improving data held on causes of death among veterans to better understand the triggers that can lead someone to take their own life, such as debt and gambling addiction.
It also includes greater focus on addressing the increase in suicide and self-harm among young people, while social media companies will be asked to take more responsibility for online content that promotes methods of suicide and self-harm.
Other parts of the plan include:
- every local authority putting an effective suicide prevention plan in place
- ensuring every mental health trust has a zero-suicide ambition plan for mental health inpatients by the end of 2019
- every prison putting actions in place to reduce suicides and self-harm and improve staff awareness and training
- addressing the specific needs of the highest risk groups, including middle-aged men, with £25 million funding
- improving research on things that can be linked to suicide, such as debt and gambling addiction
There are 4,500 suicides each year in England, and around 13 people end their life every day. Men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women, and suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50. Suicide is also a leading cause of death in young people.