Closed petition Introduce a Suicide Prevention Act to seek to minimise suicides
We want the Government to legislate to:
- Create a National Suicide Prevention Office
- Require suicide prevention plans, frameworks and training for public and private organisations
- Support statutory local suicide prevention partnerships
- Enable sharing of data on suicide deaths/attempts
- Require suicide prevention impact assessments for new legislation and policies
- Require lived experience input in developing suicide prevention plans and policies
- Establish dedicated crisis support and community support hubs
- Create provisions to tackle loneliness and social isolation
- Require the teaching of suicide prevention in schools
- Amend building regulations to 'design out' suicide risks
- Establish dedicated trauma and loss counselling
- Require RIDDOR reporting for suspected suicides and psychological injuries at work
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 24 January 2024
The new Suicide Prevention Strategy includes action across Government that we believe will address much of this petition. We will continuously monitor delivery and embed new actions when needed.
Every death by suicide is a tragedy, the effects of which impact on the lives of loved ones, families and communities. It is imperative that we do all we can to prevent suicides and save lives which is why, in September 2023, we published a new cross-government and cross-sector suicide prevention strategy for England, setting out our aims for suicide and self-harm prevention to 2028. It is our view, that many of the actions suggested within this petition, will be delivered through the Strategy.
The Strategy set an ambition to reduce suicides within five years, and to improve support for people who self-harm and for people bereaved by suicide. The strategy is informed by data, evidence, and engagement with stakeholders, including people with lived experience and by the mental health call for evidence that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) ran in 2022. We are committed in the strategy to continuing to involve people with lived experience and will ensure they are at the heart of implementation and delivery.
The strategy brings forward over 130 actions with the aim of reducing the numbers of people who die by suicide. We recognise the factors that lead a person to take their own life can come from all parts of life, therefore people and organisations across society have a role to play. In recognition, actions in the strategy come from a number of Government departments and delivery partners, and cover a wide range of priority areas for action, including improving data and evidence, addressing social isolation and loneliness as a risk factor, and suicide bereavement. DHSC will work closely with other Government departments to monitor delivery and implement the actions in the strategy.
We believe that many of these actions go some way to deliver what this petition seeks to bring forward. These include:
• The Department for Education engaging experts and those with personal experience to review relationships, sex and health education guidance to determine whether suicide and self-harm prevention will be included as an explicit part of the curriculum. Revised guidance will be published in 2024.
• Launching a mental health impact assessment tool to inform broader policy making across central and local government. Initially this will be aimed at policy makers across national Government to ensure that, when policy is being designed, the possible impacts on mental health and suicide are considered, particularly for more vulnerable groups, prior to further rollout.
• NHS England investing £150 million in mental health urgent and emergency care infrastructure across 2023/24 and 2024/25, including funding new and improved facilities, such as crisis cafes, crisis houses, urgent mental health assessment and care centres, health-based places of safety, and the redesign and refurbishment of some existing suites and facilities including in emergency departments;
• The Office for National Statistics (ONS) using occupation information provided on death certificates to improve understanding of the suicide rates in different occupations. This will help identify where actions should be prioritised to support different occupations.
• The nationwide near real-time suspected suicide surveillance system (nRTSSS) we launched on 30 November, which will improve the early detection of and timely access to address changes in suicide rates.
Improving data and evidence is a priority topic within the strategy. It is our aim that data and evidence are readily available and easily accessible to anyone who wants to do more to prevent suicide. Additionally, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and local authorities will work together to explore opportunities for improving data collection and data sharing in all areas. This includes building on work to identify and record where an individual resides as well as the location in question. This should improve understanding, provide appropriate support and guidance for future lessons learned, and help direct support to try and intervene at locations of concern.
On “designing out” suicide risk, although the strategy does not cover building regulations, it confirms our commitment to addressing the link between suicide and different environments. We encourage those with a role in the planning system to consider the risks of suicide associated with buildings and public spaces and to consult the resource Preventing suicides in public places (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/suicide-prevention-suicides-in-public-places).
Turning to trauma and loss counselling, suicide bereavement is highlighted as a priority area within the strategy, and through the NHS Long Term Plan we are investing £57 million specifically for suicide prevention and suicide bereavement services.
Finally, in recognition of the role of the voluntary sector in suicide prevention, we have established a £10 million VCSE Suicide Prevention Grant Fund to run to March 2025 to assist in the delivery of suicide prevention activity.
Department of Health and Social Care