On World Suicide Prevention Day the Society joined the campaign to save lives in England

The British Psychological Society welcomes the latest Department of Health Suicide Prevention Strategy, which was published on 10 September 2012. In Preventing Suicide in England: A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives, the government has set out its overall objectives to reduce suicide and improve support for those bereaved or affected by suicide.  

David Murphy, Chair of the Society’s Professional Practice Board, said: “Each year more lives are lost to suicide than road traffic accidents so we are very pleased to support the Government in developing this strategy. However, achieving the objectives will depend on a wide range of organisations taking co-ordinated action, nationally and locally. With this in mind the Society has worked together with a wide range of statutory, professional and third sector organization to develop the ‘Call to action for suicide prevention in England’ campaign which is also launched today. The complementary campaign brings together over 50 national organisations committed to work together and deliver real action to reduce the risk of suicide.”

“This is the first time that so many organisations have committed to work together on this issue. It’s an important step forward as the risk factors that contribute to suicide are wide-ranging and complex, so the task of preventing suicide requires action from all parts of society and across organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors. As Psychologists I believe we have an important role to play  by working together with other stakeholders.”

Among the tangible objectives that have been set are: to improve access to services, by making sure local and national information is easily available; to develop strategies to encourage help-seeking behaviours amongst both ‘high-risk’ groups and the whole population; and to create mechanisms to make sure that people in distress have access to effective interventions and are given information in a clear and consistent way. 

David concluded: “We know that the risk of suicide increases in the population at times of financial hardship and it will be important that suicide prevention is maintained as a priority over the next few years. We hope that by giving our support to the Call to Action campaign we will be able make a difference to those who are experiencing feelings which may lead to suicide and also those who are bereaved or suffer in other ways as a result.”

For further information on suicide rates in the United Kingdom see the Office for National Statistics publication Suicide rates in the United Kingdom, 2006 to 2010.

Read the statement on this issue from Mental Health Europe.