Publication: Samaritans (2019).
With around 4,500 lives lost to suicide every year in England (ONS 2018), preventing suicide is a challenging public health issue.
Everyday, on average, 12 people take their own lives. Meaning that everyday, scores of people have lost partners, family members, friends and work colleagues.
This report, published by Samaritans (2019), provided the first ever nationwide view of the breadth and depth of suicide prevention planning within and across local authorities in England.
There is much activity happening nationally to help prevent suicide. But, local action is critical to save lives. The most effective way to do this is through ensuring strong multi agency groups and excellent local public health leadership. This approach would ensure robust suicide prevention plans are in place that are being delivered effectively.
Signs of hope
Overall, an encouraging picture emerges from this report. Almost all local authority areas have established an action plan and multi-agency suicide prevention group.
There is a clear commitment to collaborative working at local level, made possible by strong leadership from Public Health teams and other local agencies, and there are a wide range of actions being delivered.
This work is taking place in the context of cuts to local public health budgets and cuts to provision fundamental to good suicide prevention, such as substance misuse services, and wider community services.