Primary Care needs to lead the way in Suicide Prevention

16% of the GPs felt that suicide could have been prevented


Many may have missed it, but in March 2014, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH) produced what for many in the suicide prevention arena was a breath of fresh air – A publication that outlines clearly the challenges faced by Primary Care and all our communities in identifying and supporting people who may be considering suicide as a realistic option.


To date, Suicide and its prevention has very much been seen as the remit of mental health services with an emphasis on those services being all they can be so to best prevent suicide. 


This report however clearly demonstrates that the responsibility of suicide prevention is not solely in the hands of mental health services, and nor should it be. It is everybody’s responsibility – a joined up responsibility across all sectors and all our communities. 


We need to remember that suicide is not a mental illness, nor infact, are all suicides undertaken by people who are in touch with mental health services or have ever had a diagnosed mental illness – some would even go as far as to argue that for some who die by suicide, the act could be seen as a rational undertaking with no relevance to mental illness at all.


The only real “known known” is that one suicide is one too many and in today’s society, nobody should find themselves at such a level of despair that the only option they feel they have is to die by suicide. 



Many of the GPs who contributed to this report felt that there was a lack of access to mental health services and that there were underlying challenges because of the problems encountered by working within changing NHS structures. In addition to this, 16% of the GPs who contributed to this report felt that suicide could have been prevented. 


But, suicide is everybody’s responsibility – it can’t, and shouldn’t all be laid solely on the shoulders of the GPs and mental health services – it is an unrealistic ask – we all need to do our share – from Public Health to the Police, from the Voluntary Sector to the Education sector, from our local politicians to our very own families and friends.


If you want to know what we are doing at Forward For Life then get in touch with us.


If you are worried about someone or have thoughts of suicide yourself then seek support now. Go to our Resources section for more information.




You can find the report here >>>> Suicide_Prevention_Primary_Care




4 thoughts on “Primary Care needs to lead the way in Suicide Prevention

  1. After loosing a 17 year old daughter to suicide and the studies I have done.  I have found out that the number one mental health problem in this country is depression.  Depression and suicide goes hand and hand.  It's a mental health problem. . it's a problem for health care workers. . it's a problem for schools. . it's a problem for communities and it's a problem for parents.  We need to get the word out about suicide awareness and the signs of depression/suicide.

    1. Hi Joy,

      We are really sorry to hear about your loss – It is possibly one of the most devastating experiences any parent could experience. I just want to thank you also for being so frank and brave in leaving this comment on the website.


      You are right Depression is often associated with Suicide Behaviours that is why we are keen to push the SOS campaign, the input strategically and all the training packages we deliver both standardised and tailored. Suicide is the Biggest Elephant in the Room. We are developing short lectures for Teachers after the recent success of the tailored GP SCHEME in Birmingham and also wanting to push out the safeTALK courses to communities, but the biggest problem as we see it is the stigma and taboo around suicide – it stops communities from even engaging with the impact of suicide. It stops them being open. It stops them finding the help and support they need and it stops this whole issue from being dealt with adequately by the sectors that have a responsibility to do something about it.

      It is only through people like yourself and organisations like ours that this issue can be highlighted and pushed higher on the agenda as being Everybodys’ Business.


      Thankyou again for your comments and please take care of yourself.

      If you need any more information about what we do please contact me at



      Company Director

  2. Really appreciated reading the report.  So good that GPs are onto this.

    Would have been helpful to have an LGBT dimension, given the increased risk within the community.  Also, assuming binary gender means you miss all the data about trans* people.

    Good luck with your work.  Keep in touch!

    Margaret Unwin




    1. Hi Margaret

      Thanks for your comments

      It is a shame that the LGBT community is not included within this documentation. Fortunately, some Public Health Departments and Mental Health Commissioning Units are working hard to include this dimension – but unfortunately many don’t and that is a real cause for concern. The National Suicide Prevention Strategy mention the LGBT communities as being at significant risk regarding suicide, but as Im sure you are aware, there is no mandate at present for Local Suicide Prevention Strategies to be in place.


      Lets hope that through our work such a requirement will become reality in the near future – it is only through our persistance and other organisations with a passion for suicide prevention that this will be realised.


      Thanks again for your input and I hope that we can work together further in the future.


      Terry Rigby

      Company Director

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