Suicide prevention strategy needed

Mental health charity Mental health Aftercare Association (Maca)
has called for immediate action to improve care plan provision for
people with mental illness to prevent more suicides.

The call comes following the results of research by the National
Confidential Inquiry into Suicides and Homicides that suggested
that 250 suicides and six homicides could be prevented each year.
The inquiry came up with a raft of recommendations including the
need for a suicide prevention strategy for each UK country and a
system for approving training courses for NHS and social care

Commenting on the inquiry’s findings, Simon Lawton Smith, head
of public affairs at Maca, said: “We need stronger action to
improve care plans now or more people are going to die at their own

A series of recommendations were specifically aimed at the Care
Programme Approach as exclusively revealed by Community Care last
week (see News 15 March, page 2).

Health minister, John Hutton, welcomed the report and said work
was already under way to address the issues it raised. “The
findings of the NCI report will be given full consideration and
will help to inform the national suicide prevention strategy that
we are currently developing.”

The inquiry recommended that local services should have a
strategy for the comprehensive care of patients with a dual
diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse and for providing
care for ethnic minorities.

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