Wales 180Professor Mark Drakeford will launch a new strategy set to become "the cornerstone for suicide and self-harm prevention over the next five years in Wales" at a national mental health event next month.

The Minister for Health and Social services will launch the strategy, entitled Talk to Me 2, which sets out priorities to be addressed at national regional level and local levels, at an event followed by a forum which will take place 9:30-17:00 on Thursday, July 16 at the All Nations Centre in Cardiff.

The event is aimed at people from a variety of backgrounds engaged in promoting the health and wellbeing of people in Wales who self-harm or are at risk of self-harm or suicide.


Talk to Me 2 was recently the subject of a national consultation running from December 2014-February 2015 and the launch event will provide the opportunity to gain greater insight into the content of the strategy, the development of regional groups to progress the work, experiences from other UK administrations and the opportunity to network with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds.

Speaking when launching the consultation, Prof Drakeford said: "Suicide is a tragedy for all concerned and is a cause of distress for many people - the individual, family, friends, professionals and the wider community.

"Each year in Wales between 300 and 350 people die from suicide, about 3 times the number killed in road accidents. There are also around 5,500 hospital admissions for self-harm each year. Prevention of suicide and self-harm is a major challenge for us all, but no single organisation or government department can tackle this issue in isolation."

There are 6 core objectives to the strategy feeding into the overall goal of reducing suicide rates across all ages in Wales:
- Raising awareness of suicide and self-harm risk factors
- Improving responses to crises and early intervention
- Increasing information and support for the bereaved
- Supporting the media in responsible reporting
- Reducing access to the means of suicide
- Supporting learning information and monitoring systems to improve understanding of suicide and self-harm.

To support funding for the new strategy, the Welsh Government has protected mental health spending for a number of years and has extended the mental health ring-fence from £389 million five years ago to £587 million in 2014-15.

Last week, Prof Drakeford announced an additional £8 million investment for adult mental health services in Wales develop services to increase the availability of psychological therapies across Wales.

Find out more
Watch Aneurin Bevan Health Board director Dr Dave Williams deliver the Mental Health Today Wales 2015 keynote address: