Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Suicide rates drop following nationwide strategy, Manchester study reveals

Suicide rates drop following nationwide strategy, Manchester study reveals

By Melanie Hughes

Strategies for tackling suicide have led to falling death rates in England and Wales since 1997, a Manchester-based study has found.

Health authorities that implemented more than six of the recommendations have seen the largest number of suicide rates decrease between 1997 and 2006. In contrast, those that did not introduce them saw little change in the numbers.

The biggest drop in suicide rates, about 10%, was seen in the poorest regions after numerous strategies were introduced.

The recommendations were made in the 1990s by the National Confidential Inquiry (NCI) into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness.

They included a wide range of measures such as removing ligature points from wards, community outreach, seven-day follow-up for discharged patients, multidisciplinary reviews, sharing information with criminal justice agencies and families, continuous training for

frontline staff.
However, most importantly there was the provision of a 24-hour crisis team which was directly related to the biggest drop in suicide rates.

Between 1997 and 2006, the NCI recorded 12,881 suicides within 91 mental health services in England and Wales.

By 2006, authorities that implemented between seven and nine recommendations had a suicide rate of nine deaths per 10,000 patient contacts per year. Authorities implementing between zero and six had a suicide rate of 11.

The authors, led by Professor Navneet Kapur, from the University of Manchester, wrote: “Investigation of the relation between new initiatives and suicide could help to inform future suicide prevention efforts and improve safety for patients receiving mental health care.”

However, the string of Government cuts have not yet stopped and there are worries that some of these services could be cut in the coming year starting a huge domino effect.

Dr Peter Byrne, Associate Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “In these difficult financial times, it is wrong to cut back on these essential mental health services when we need them the most.”