Between 300 and 350 people take their own life each year in Wales and in October 2017, the National Assembly for Wales’ Health, Social Care & Sport Committee launched a new inquiry to look at what’s being done in Wales to support people affected.
Suicidal feelings can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background, at any time. Many people will feel suicidal at some point in their lives, but with support and self-help, most people who have felt suicidal go on to live fulfilling lives.
The Welsh Government’s suicide prevention strategy, Talk to Me 2, recognises that some groups are more at risk than others. Men, for example, made-up 85% of the 322 completed suicides in 2016. People experiencing mental health problems too, are at a greater risk of taking their own life. Approximately 28% of those who die by suicide are known to mental health services in the year before their death.
At Mind Cymru, we wanted the Committee to hear directly from people with experience of using mental health services and make it easier for you, our supporters, to share your own experiences with the Committee.
We emailed a survey to our campaigners in Wales in November 2016 and received 75 responses, many of which were from people with personal experience of crisis, suicidal feelings or that of a friend or family member. We also surveyed our network of Local Mind’s about their experience of delivering mental health services locally.
You told us that people need support earlier, quicker access to talking therapies and that long waiting-times left people’s mental health deteriorating.
You told us people need better crisis-care services, with 24-hour access to dedicated teams and effective follow-up support when leaving hospital. And you told us that fears about speaking out about suicidal thoughts and poor mental health prevented people from getting the help and support they need, when they need it.
Our local Mind’s echoed your suggestions, with additional calls for training, anti-stigma campaigning and funding.
We put your responses to the inquiry, and today I attended a meeting of the Committee to answer questions from Assembly Members. Once the Committee has finished gathering evidence, its members will produce a report making recommendations to Welsh Government
With your support, we will continue to campaign for the Welsh Government to improve mental health services and suicide prevention, ultimately reducing the number of deaths from suicide in Wales.
For help and information on dealing with suicidal feelings, visit our information pages.
Or find out how to become a Mind Cymru campaigner.