Day 859

Suicide Prevention Interim Report 2016-17 Summary:

This report published by the House of Commons Health Committee outlines five key areas for consideration by the Government before the refreshed strategy is finalised:

(1) Implementation — a clear implementation programme underpinned by external
scrutiny is required.
“To me, it is extraordinary and very distressing that four years after the strategy was published we do not know how many local authorities have implemented anything [ … ] we cannot allow more lives to be lost because we do not have effective governance and implementation. It is such a waste of time and a waste of money.” – Hamish Elvidge, Chair of the Mathew Elvidge Trust.

(2) Services to support people who are vulnerable to suicide—this includes wider
support for public mental health and wellbeing alongside the identification of
and targeted support for at risk groups; early intervention services, access to help in non-clinical settings, and improvements in both primary and secondary care;and services for those bereaved by suicide. We recommend that all suicide prevention plans should include mandatory provision of support services for families who have been bereaved by suicide.

(3) Consensus statement on sharing information with families—professionals
need better training to ensure that opportunities to involve families or friends
in a patient’s recovery are maximised, where appropriate.

Misunderstanding about confidentiality, lack of confidence, or even simply time constraints can lead professionals to adopt a ‘tick box’ approach to seeking consent. Professionals may err on the side of not involving families, rather than taking the time to explore fully with the patient whether there would be benefit in contacting a trusted family member or friend.34 Hamish Elvidge explained it very helpfully: One way is to say “Do we have your consent to share information with a family member, friend or colleague?” The chances are that the answer will be, “No.” Or you could say, “In our experience, it is always much better to involve a family member, friend or colleague whom you trust in your treatment and recovery, and we know the triangle of care is likely to result in a greater chance of successful recovery. This will result in you recovering much quicker. Would you like us to make contact with someone and would you like us to do this with you now?”

(4) Data—timely and consistent data is needed to enable swift responses to suspected suicides and to identify possible clusters, in order to prevent further suicides.

(5) Media—media guidelines relating to the reporting of suicide are being widely
ignored and greater attention must be paid to dealing with breaches by the
media, at national and local level. Consideration should also be given to what
changes should be made to restrict access to potentially harmful internet sites
and content.

Is this document a proof of more red-tape or a source of hope for the future?


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