Promotion of mental health among children and young people is a
key objective of the government’s new plan to reduce the
number of suicides, writes David
The national suicide prevention strategy for England aims to
reduce the number of suicides by at least 20 per cent by 2010.
Inclusion of a specific objective for people aged under-18
follows the launch of Community Care’s ‘Changing
Minds’ campaign for better mental health care for children.
The new strategy also aims to ensure that local mental health
services use assertive outreach teams to maintain contact with
vulnerable and high-risk patients.
Young men are a particular target as suicide is the most common
cause of death for males aged under-35.
The strategy, which will be delivered as a core programme of the
National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE), will aim
to identify earlier those people at a high risk of suicide.
This will include the establishment of a national organisation
to monitor non-fatal deliberate self-harm.
Health minister Jacqui Smith said: “We intend it to be an
evolving strategy that will develop in light of progress made and
emerging evidence of practice.”
The department of health said responsibility for suicide
prevention cannot rest with the health sector alone as three
quarters of people who kill themselves are not in contact with
mental health services.
A cross-government network will be developed to address issues
that impact on people with mental health problems such as
unemployment and housing. The suicide prevention programme will
also be linked closely with the NIMHE substance misuse