Suicide prevention strategy unveiled in Wales

Frontline professionals in Wales will receive early intervention training in mental illness as part of a five-year suicide prevention strategy.

Police, healthcare workers, teachers and Jobcentre staff will be asked to adopt a “mental health first aid” approach in a £1.7m programme to ensure people at risk of harming themselves are directed towards support.

The Welsh assembly’s action plan, Talk To Me, will engage the media in mental health promotion campaigns to encourage people to become more open about discussing personal problems.

Round-the-clock support

A 24-hour helpline will provide round-the-clock support, while a new management position co-ordinating interventions from the voluntary sector in Wales will be recruited from the Samaritans charity.

Work was accelerated on the strategy earlier this year after a spate of suicides among young people in Bridgend.

Outreach ‘vital’

Health and social services secretary Edwina Hart said outreach services, particularly among vulnerable groups such as young people and rough sleepers, would be vital in tackling a trend of people ending their lives without coming into contact with mental health services.

About 300 people in Wales take their own lives each year, with 6,000 people receiving hospital treatment for self-harm. A recent inquiry found that three-quarters of suicides involved people who had not been in contact with mental health services in the year before their death.

Culture change

Hart said: We need to change the culture around mental health issues so that the signs can be identified, and support provided, at an earlier stage in order to reduce the rate of suicide and the numbers of those who self-harm.”

Twenty-three young people from in and around Bridgend county are believed to have killed themselves since January 2007.

Related articles

Reflecting on Bridgend – blog by Sarah Brennan, chief executive of YoungMinds

How the media has misrepresented the Bridgend suicides

‘First aid’ to prevent suicide

External information


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.