While the government in England aims to reduce the rate of suicide by 10% in 5 years, an independent charity ‘Contact’ (http://www.contactni.com/) in Northern Ireland (NI) holds the vision of creating a society free of suicide. Its mission statement is – ‘Getting you through the most difficult times.’
Here are the salient features of its manifesto for this year:
- Zero Suicide is the only target to aim for, the ultimate expression of our commitment to patient safety. Driving suicide to zero must commence with health and justice care systems, affirming the conviction that, ‘no one should die alone, in despair, by suicide’.
- All learning achieved from saving lives in our care must be urgently applied to community and family settings. Continuity of care at crisis point must ensure critical real-time information sharing agreed by memorandum of understanding, investing in robust multi-agency relationships, applying 24/7 ‘air traffic control’, gold standard patient safety quality assurance for everyone in our care.
- No wrong door – every patient at risk of suicide must receive comprehensive clinical assessment and safety plan at first point of contact (including family/ loved ones, GP and crisis clinical support), testing safety plan relevance on every subsequent contact.
- No wrong door at times of crisis. Perfect crisis care requires 100% commitment to a ‘no blame’ culture, championed by accessible, visible and competent corporate leadership accountability – with immediate learning from honest mistakes celebrated as opportunities to achieve continuous service improvement excellence.
- Civic leadership must invest in competent, courageous suicide prevention championship, encouraging compassionate understanding while promoting courageous lived experience voices of hope and recovery.
- A regional Suicide Prevention Standing Conference to celebrate what works and drive the zero suicide challenge. If suicide is preventable, then NI health and justice systems have a unique opportunity and compelling obligation to provide world-class suicide prevention integrated care, from crisis-point, to stabilisation and recovery, with a renewed, ambitious, relentless resolve to drive the NI suicide death rate down, establishing NI as the safest-from-suicide region in the UK and Ireland within the next five years. Every suicide is preventable until the last moment of life.
Belfast was home for 7 years. Saagar was there from the ages of 5 to 12. He did a fantastic ‘norn-irish’ accent! I never thought I would be going back there to participate in a Suicide Prevention Conference but in November I am.