Suicides in Wales would be reduced if public sector workers engaging with people in poverty were trained in prevention skills, Samaritans Cymru have said today.

The charity has published new recommendations following the release of research data last year into the impact of economic and social disadvantage.

Suicide prevention training is particularly important for job centre staff, emergency health staff and teachers, the report says.

23 percent of the Welsh population live in poverty. Samaritans Cymru have shown that hospital admissions for self-harm are higher in deprived areas of the principality.

Samaritans Cymru recommendations include:

  • Training should be provided to frontline workers both in the public sector and key frontline sectors who are more likely to meet vulnerable groups in areas of socioeconomic deprivation.
  • Suicide Prevention Training is particularly important for job centre staff, emergency health staff and teachers.
  • There also needs to be an investment and uptake in training for senior staff in order to provide support for their own frontline staff who are supporting the most vulnerable people in society.
  • It is crucial that frontline staff and public services are able to signpost to other relevant services and agencies effectively.

"There is now overwhelming evidence of a strong connection between socioeconomic deprivation and suicidal behaviour in Wales," said Sarah Stone, executive director for Wales.

"Suicide is not inevitable; there are actions we can take so that difficult times do not result in people dying."

Government pressure

The charity say suicides would be further reduced if the Welsh government were to implement a poverty action plan.

The Welsh Government say Wales has achieved historically low rates of economic inactivity and unemployment.

A spokesman said: "In December the economy secretary launched the economic action plan which is grounded on the principle that well-paid work is the best route out of poverty and seeks to increase the availability of good-quality jobs and empower communities with the skills and infrastructure that can support better jobs closer to home."

Samaritans Cymru are also calling for better public information to help reduce unmanageable debt, better support for those bereaved by suicide and investment in community groups to tackle loneliness and isolation.

Join us this May at our flagship event Mental Health Today Wales 2018 for a day of challenging discussions with a focus on crisis care, equality and discrimination and mental health conditions. Find out more.

The Samaritans can be reached 24 hours a day on 116 123.