Current national best practice includes:
• Department of Health (2012); Preventing Suicide in England: A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives
• HM Government (2014); Preventing suicide in England: One year on
• HM Government (2015); Preventing suicide in England: Two years on
Specific guidance emerging from updates to the national strategy include:
• The need for close working between specialist services, primary care, and credit counselling agencies to help local services support people with debt and mental health problems
• Local agencies to map what support is available within the local area for those affected or bereaved by a suicide and which agencies provide this support. There are also a number of local initiatives to move towards providing support for every family affected by suicide.
• GPs can make a big difference to overall suicide rates. People recover more quickly from depression if it is identified early and responded to promptly, using evidence-based treatment.
• Local services to develop systems for the early identification of children and young people with mental health problems in different settings, including schools.
• For Public Health Teams to work with other organisations to ensure services are joined up to respond to particular issues such as the recession, self-harm and to ensure information about depression and services is available in “male” settings
Public Health England will soon be publishing two further guidance documents for local areas. The first, on the prevention of suicides in public places will provide information on the practical steps local areas can take to reduce risks. The second, on responding to potential suicide clusters, will provide advice to local areas on practical steps to take in the event of multiple suicides, where a cluster effect is suspected.
Research and recommendations into the prevention and treatment of self harm:
• Young Minds and Cello (2012); Tackling self harm. Looks at self-harm symptoms, causes and interventions
• Royal College of Psychiatrists (2010); Self harm, suicide and risk. Provides background information, discusses results of survey and consultations with people working with young people who self harm, and makes a series of recommendations.
• Hawton and James, 2005: Suicide and deliberate self harm in young people. Provides background into the incidence and risk factors of deliberate self harm including suicide and make recommendations for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of self harm.
• Hamza, Stewart, and Willoughby (2012); Examining the link between nonsuicidal self-injury and suicidal behaviour. Explores when and why self harm and suicidal behaviour are linked.
• Further links to self harm research and recommendations can be found in a briefing provided by the Association for Young People’s Health (AYPH) and the National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network (2013).
A local Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Strategy for Berkshire was produced by Public Health Teams in October 2014. This includes a framework for comprehensive actions across the “whole picture” in Berkshire and was written in consultation with clinical leads, social care, public health, voluntary sector, providers, commissioners and users of services. Views were also sought from police, ambulance services, A & E liaison and transport police. This strategy localises the aims of the national strategy and identifies key objectives for Berkshire. A Berkshire Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Steering Group has been established to ensure these key objectives are met.