A leading American neuropsychiatrist has encouraged NHS Trusts to set ambitious goals in mental health services including targeting zero suicides in their region.
Speaking on a visit to Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) ahead of a regional conference on suicide prevention last week [15 October], Dr Ed Coffey suggested that by taking on "an audacious goal such as zero suicide, [service] quality improves across the board, not just in preventing suicides.”
Coffey, the chief executive of behavioural health services at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, encouraged staff at HPFT’s new £42 million Kingsley Green development to be “radical” and use the opportunity of the new building to challenge the conventional approach to inpatient care.
"There are some fantastic things happening in Hertfordshire that I want to take back with me," added Dr Coffey. "It’s a great opportunity for us to partner in the area of suicide prevention; we want to dramatically reduce suicide, not just nibble at the edges."
The visit follows a trip by four HPFT staff to Detroit in 2011 to look at the work going on to reduce suicide rates, working with patients to improve access to healthcare and restrict the means to commit suicide including restricting access to firearms for patients suffering depression.
The conference, A Whole System Approach to Suicide Prevention also featured a presentation by Dr Geraldine Strathdee, clinical director of NHS England, giving a national perspective on suicide prevention and improving depression.

Watch our exclusive highlights of Dr Strathdee speaking on mental health commissioning at the recent ACCI & BMH UK National Conference 2013 below: