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Record low level of suicide

21st May 2006

21052006_man&pills1.jpgThe third annual report of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy (launched in 2002), produced jointly by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE), shows that the national suicide rate is at its lowest level since records began.

The report also shows a sustained drop in the number of young men committing suicide, the first sustained downward trend for 25 years, and a drop in the number of suicides among prisoners and mental health in-patients.

The report outlined specific areas where progress is being made:

- the phased withdrawal of the commonly prescribed painkiller co-proxamol
- the ongoing development of three mental health promotion pilots aimed at young men in Camden, Manchester and Bedfordshire
- the three centre study of deliberate self-harm to help provide accurate data, trends and patterns to enable effective interventions to be developed.
- the commissioning of research into the risk of suicide and self harm amongst lesbian, gay and bisexual people and a separate research project looking at suicide risk amongst different ethnic minority groups.
 
Health minister Rosie Winterton said that the report showed that the suicide prevention strategy is having a real impact on the vulnerable people who most need help.

Professor Louis Appleby, National director for mental health said that the fall in in-patient suicides is particularly encouraging news, as in-patient safety has been a real focus for the NHS.  However he added "Whilst these figures are positive, we must work hard to ensure that this downward trend continues."

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