This year's report highlights an increasing risk of suicide in middle-aged men, as well as an increase in the number of people taking their own lives after being sent out-of-area for care. More than 1,800 people in touch with mental health services took their lives in 2013..
In response to today's publication of the University of Manchester’s annual National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH), Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said:
“Earlier this year the Government announced its ambition to eliminate suicides among people in touch with mental health services. Today’s report shows just how far there is to go in achieving that goal. No one who is in touch with services, asking for help, should reach the point of taking their own life. NHS mental health services must be able respond when people reach out, from early treatment to help prevent people becoming more unwell, to an emergency response that can provide urgent care when someone in in crisis.
“This report recognises that investment in mental health services is key. However, historical underfunding for mental health, compounded by cuts over the last few years, mean that services are struggling to cope with demand.
“There is good work being done as part of the Crisis Care Concordat that will help improve support for people who are suicidal. Every local area now has an action plan that describes in detail how local NHS, police, local authorities and other agencies and services will work together to improve support for people in crisis and many include specific activity around suicide prevention. We need now to see these action plans become a reality and the right resources put behind them to transform the support available.”
On suicides in men, he added:
“We have known for many years that men, and in particular middle aged men, are more likely to take their own lives. We need to see a much more proactive approach to supporting men who are experiencing suicidal thoughts to make sure they get right help at the right time.”
Finally on out-of-area care, Mr Farmer said:
“We echo the Inquiry’s call for an end to out-of-area acute care for people with mental health problems. An investigation by Community Care and the BBC last week revealed that sending people out of area because of a lack of beds locally has become much more widespread in the last year. This report is yet more evidence of the impact this has on the person in crisis.”
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