People who are vulnerable to suicide and those who self-harm will be offered greater levels of support as part of a new five-year plan to reduce suicide and self-harm in Wales, the Welsh Government has announced.
Talk to Me 2, launched today [July 16] by Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford, identifies those groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to suicide and self-harm and sets out the care they should receive, provided in the right way, in the right place, at the right time.
It also sets out the strategic aims and objectives to prevent and reduce suicide and self-harm in Wales and builds on and complements measures set out in Together for Mental Health and the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010.
Groups of people considered at increased risk of suicide include:
• Middle-aged men
• Vulnerable young people, especially those who are not in education, training or employment
• People in prison or custody suites and those in psychiatric care.
The suicide and self-harm prevention activities, which will be a national priority in Wales over the next five years, include:
• Delivering appropriate responses to personal crises, early intervention and management of suicide and self-harm
• Further improving awareness, knowledge and understanding of suicide and self-harm among the public; people who frequently come into contact with those at risk of suicide and self-harm and professionals in Wales
• Providing information and support for people bereaved or affected by suicide and self-harm
• Supporting the media in the responsible reporting and portrayal of suicide and suicidal behaviour
• Reducing access to the means of suicide
• Continuing to promote and support learning, information and monitoring systems and research to improve understanding of suicide and self-harm in Wales and guide action.
Each year in Wales between 300 and 350 people die from suicide – about three times the number killed in road accidents. There are about 5,500 hospital admissions for self-harm every year.
Professor Drakeford said: “Suicide is usually a response to a complex series of factors, which are both personal and related to wider social and community influences. It is a tragedy for all concerned and is a cause of distress for many people – the individual, family, friends, professionals and the wider community.
“Our new five-year strategy is deliberately targeted at those groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to suicide and self-harm.
“It puts in place what we expect services to do to promote, co-ordinate and support plans and programmes to reduce suicide and prevent self-harm at national, regional and local levels.
“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. This is why national suicide prevention strategies are a key component in reducing suicide. They establish the strategic framework needed for a range of interventions by many organisations and sectors in a joined-up way.
“The successful implementation of Together for Mental Health, the Mental Health Measure and Talk to Me 2 will make a significant contribution to the prevention of suicide and self-harm in Wales.”
Talk to Me 2 builds on the first Talk to Me plan, which was launched in 2009.
Dr Ann John, associate professor at Swansea University, who chairs the Welsh Government’s national advisory group on suicide and self-harm prevention, added: “We need to encourage people to seek help before they reach a crisis point and enable those around them to respond.”