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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

RCPsych statement- Deputy Prime Minister's call for 'zero suicide' strategy across the NHS

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:

“We warmly welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s focus on reducing suicide, which tragically remains the biggest killer of men under 50.

In particular, we strongly back the call for more support to be given to patients after they have been discharged from hospital, with personal safety plans put in place so that patients, family and friends know what to do and where to go for help if they need it. This is a crucial period of time; the 2014 National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide report found that mental health patients are at their highest risk of dying by suicide in the first three months after discharge, especially in the first one to two weeks – accounting for 18% of all patient suicides.

It is therefore vital that effective care planning is put in place for patients before they are discharged, including those who self discharge, and with early follow-up appointments  carried out as a matter of routine. Indeed, the College has strongly supported the Government's recent proposal to record every suicide which takes place after contact with an NHS Service, and to use this as one of the headline indicators to judge the performance of the NHS.

However, while we do support the Deputy Prime Minister’s ambitious target to reduce the number of suicides, it cannot be ignored that mental health services are currently under huge pressure, facing a 'perfect storm' of increasing demand and years of cuts to budgets. Therefore, if this welcome aspiration is to be realised, commissioners must give mental health services  the necessary resources to ensure that the highest possible standards of patient safety can be achieved."

 


For further information, please contact:
 
Hannah Perlin
Senior Communications Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2738
 
Nick Hodgson
Media Manager 
Telephone: 0203 701 2593
 
Twitter: @rcpsych
 
Out-of-hours contact number: 07860 755896

 

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