All Party Committee Report highlights gaps in suicide prevention provision in England

All Party Committee Report highlights gaps in suicide prevention provision in England

Gaps in suicide prevention provision around the country have been highlighted in a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention (APPG) which is being launched today.

A survey of local authorities in England by the APPG found that around 30 per cent do not have a local suicide prevention action plan, around 40 per cent do not have a multi-agency suicide prevention group and around 30 per cent do not collect local suicide data.

These actions are all seen as crucial to putting the government National Suicide Prevention Strategy into practice effectively. Public Health England (PHE) should use its 15 local centres across the country to encourage and support public health teams in areas where the survey data shows that the national strategy is not being fully implemented, the APPG said in its report.

Organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Group (NSPSG), the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) and other related organisations could also use the data to try and stimulate activity in areas where the strategy has not been fully implemented, the APPG said.

Coroners should collect data about suicide which should be made available automatically to health teams, the APPG said, and Chief Coroner should issue guidance to Senior Coroners to allow public health teams easier access to their records.

PHE could advise on collecting the data locally and how it can be used, as well as pooling the figures over wider areas in order to better identify trends, the report added.

Joe Ferns, Samaritans’ Executive Director of Policy, said: “It is really important that action is planned and delivered locally to ensure the National Suicide Prevention Strategy is put into practice in every area of the country.

“We know that areas of deprivation are likely to have higher suicide rates and so it is particularly worrying that many of these areas do not have suicide prevention plans in place.”

Madeleine Moon MP, chair of the APPG said: “We were concerned that the lack of funding and requirement to report back to the Department of Health, alongside the changes in the NHS structure, would have a negative impact on suicide prevention.

“This report confirms our concern that at a local level the essential work to prevent suicide is just not happening.  We also feel there is an urgent need to address the reported low level of suicide prevention activity across the Greater London area. Suicide remains the main killer of otherwise fit and healthy young males.  Action must be taken to raise the priority and funding for suicide prevention.”

Read the full report

Harmless and The Tomorrow Project have become a core member of The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities (TASC). Find out more about their important work…

Harmless and The Tomorrow Project have now become a core member of The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities (TASC). TASC is an alliance of the leading charities dealing with suicide prevention and mental health issues.

TASC came together as an initiative to encourage collaboration and prevent duplication of efforts and funding in the area of suicide research and prevention. TASC was set up in November 2010 and holds quarterly meetings to discuss common goals, current research and future actions..

Since last week marked the 12th annual World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), we thought we’d share some of the great work that members and partners of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) are currently doing. Including exciting new social media campaigns and the launch of the UK’s first suicide prevention app.

Connecting with People – new World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) campaign

The theme of this 12th anniversary event is ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected’. We launched #connectingwith our new social media campaign to promote the importance of connectedness as part of my 24 hour ‘Tweetathon’. The #connectingwith campaign will raise awareness that strong relationships, connectedness and a sense of belonging are powerful protective factors against suicide. Also that reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act. This is especially relevant to people who are isolated and in distress.

How you can help

The #connectingwith campaign will encourage people to connect with others and we are hoping people will make new connections or strengthen existing ones and post this on social media. Ideally we would like everyone to pose with the person (or people) they are connecting with, fill in the attached #connectingwith blank certificate to describe the event, take a photo or if willing a ‘selfie’ of themselves holding the #connectingwith certificate and post this on social media.

Grassroots Suicide Prevention – new suicide prevention app Stay Alive

Our ground-breaking suicide prevention app Stay Alive is now available to download to your phone. To download the app to your smartphone visit our website, : the Apple App Store and Google Play download links are on the front page.

Key features include:

· Quick access to UK national crisis support helplines
· A mini-safety plan
· A LifeBox of photos you can upload from your phone
· Strategies for staying safe from suicide
· How to help a person thinking about suicide
· Suicide myth-busting

We would love your feedback about the app: please rate and review it on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Responding to the launch of the Stay Alive app, Catherine Johnstone, CEO of Samaritans, says:

“Every life lost to suicide is a preventable tragedy. There are many possible points of contact with someone at risk, and a vulnerable person may need help and support from several different sources. I am pleased that Grassroots Suicide Prevention is taking this collaborative approach to reach vulnerable people in the online environment. Samaritans is contacted every six seconds by someone struggling to cope and by all of us working together to reduce suicide, we can make a real difference.”

The app has been funded by Network Rail and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and has been built by Switchplane.

If U Care Share: Inside Out gets ‘Celebrity’ backing

The Inside Out campaign which was announced mid-August is gathering pace in the run up to Inside Out Day on the 10th September (also known as Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day) with support from all over the world.

Comedienne and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax explains in the short film what her biggest lie is. If U Care Share Foundation (Suicide Prevention Charity) has launched the campaign to highlight the issue of suicide. When asked why Ruby was supporting the campaign she said ‘it’s really important to talk to someone about how you feel and I totally support the Inside Out campaign.’

We are also proud to announce that Inside Out is also being supported by comedian, actor and television presenter, Alexander Armstrong and top sportsmen Kevin Phillips, Grant Leadbitter and If U Care Share Foundation’s ambassador Micah Richards.

We feel it’s so important talk about how you are feeling and in some circumstances can be life-saving or changing to ask someone WHY? So Inside Out is simple, let’s talk, let’s bring what’s on the inside – out.

Thanks for your help and please feel free to share Follow us on Twitter @IFUCARESHARE #askmewhy

CALM have launched a free web-chat service

The male suicide prevention charity, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) are pleased to announce the launch of a free web-chat service offering support, information and signposting to men who are depressed or in crisis. Suicide is the leading killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK, and has overtaken coronary heart disease as a killer in older men aged up to 50. The latest statistics show that 77% of all suicides in the UK were male.

Open every day between 6pm – 9pm from Aug 1st, users within the UK will be able to chat anonymously and confidentially to trained helpline staff. The web-chat can be accessed on the CALM website:

The new service has been made possible by grants from Comic Relief and the Ellerman Foundation. Following research with their supporters, CALM identified a need to offer online provision, alongside their helpline and texting service, in order to make accessing support easier to a younger male audience.

The web-chat service hours will be extended to match those of the helpline (5pm – midnight) within the next 8 weeks. CALM’s helpline takes around 4,000 calls a month.

World Health Organisation publishes first ever global report on suicide prevention

World Health Organisation report on suicide states that suicide kills one person every 40 seconds. The report looks at suicide rates around the world:

If you have any questions about any of the above please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing or by visiting our website


Tomorrow Project and Harmless attend National Suicide Prevention Alliance

On Thursday two representatives of The Tomorrow project and Harmless attended The National Suicide Prevention Alliance. We were invited to the 1st Annual Membership meeting at The Directory of Social Change in London. The day provided a great opportunity for networking, hearing about important developments within the NSPA and joint programmes of work and what this meant  for The Tomorrow project and Harmless.

The six core aims of the NSPA have been broadly retained from the shared aims as set out in the National Call to Action Declaration. The Alliance aspires to:

1 Build an active network of organisations that are committed to taking action to reduce suicide and better supporting those affected by suicide; creating a network of contacts, information and resources to facilitate collaboration between members, including coordinated action.

2 Raise awareness and build knowledge of issues around suicide; working with organisations and agencies who are involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention, to build an evidence base for future activity.

3 Deliver commitment and influence to suicide prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Strategy by engaging with health and wellbeing boards, Directors for Public Health and relevant stakeholders from public, private and third sector organisations, in order to drive change.

4 Mobilise action driven by shared priorities, and mobilise delivery against key actions that members believe will make a real difference to reducing suicide, and supporting people affected by suicide.

5 Share best practice by enabling stakeholders to map the actions they are currently carrying out to reduce suicide or support those affected by suicide, and share information and examples of good practice.

6 Improve support by improving accessibility and quality of relevant information, as well as sources of support for people at risk of death by suicide, those worried about a loved one and for those bereaved by suicide; making sure where possible, that families, carers and friends can play a full role in improving the accessibility and quality of information, and support for those at risk of suicide and those bereaved by suicide.

Further information can be found in the The National Suicide Prevention Alliance Annual Review 2012-2013;

We also had the opportunity to speak with  Professor Louis Appleby, Chair of the Governments Advisory Group for the National Suicide  Prevention Strategy for England, about how The Tomorrow project and Harmless are working within the Midlands. This was met with great enthusiasm and has prompted the ability for further collaboration.

The Tomorrow Project and Harmless will look to maintain links with NSPA by working collaboratively and continuing to support the prevention of suicide both locally and throughout Nationally.

Harmless and The Tomorrow Project invited to become a member of The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA)

A member of Harmless and the Tomorrow Project team has been recently been in contact with The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA). We are really pleased to announce that Harmless and the Tomorrow Project have been invited to become a member and will be attending their national conference on the 19th June 2014 to apply.

The NSPA is a cross-sector, England wide coalition committed to: reducing the number of suicides in England, improving support for those bereaved or affected by suicide. Their ethos echoes that of Harmless and the Tomorrow Project; Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and if we work together, suicide can be prevented.

We will work collaboratively to uphold the following;

  1. Deliver guidance and support materials for local authorities
    The combined knowledge and expertise of NSPA member organisations will provide materials to support action planning by local and regional suicide prevention leads, encourage sharing of good practice, and experiences of developing and carrying out successful local strategies.
  2. Identify and reduce access to harmful sites
    Establish a shared position and course of action for suicide-related websites or web areas that are harmful or illegal; produce guidance for why they are harmful and develop recommendations for what can be done to reduce access to them. This will involve working closely with industry providers and cross-government colleagues working in the area of online safety.
  3. Develop a ‘pathway’ of support for people bereaved by suicide
    Establish and support a national framework which means that people bereaved or affected by a suicide are offered options for effective, timely, proactive and wide-ranging support.
  4. Map and evaluate suicide prevention training
    Commission a detailed report identifying nationally available suicide prevention training. This report will evaluate available training programmes against set-criteria to deliver an independent and comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of these training programmes, supporting informed choice of provider and available courses.
  5. Launch a public conference
    To bring together people involved in suicide prevention including those who; work in services, policy, research, delivery at local/regional level. To share best practice, consult on priorities and develop ideas on what the NSPA should seek to achieve in future. To raise the profile of the NSPA and encourage new members.

The NSPA will build upon the shared aims and priorities developed under the Call to Action.