Suicide in children and young people linked to bereavement, new report finds

National suicide study also calls for better support for students, internet safety and services for children who self-harm.

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Health Illness (NCISH)  has published Suicide by children and young people: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness.

This report examines findings from a range of investigations, such as coroner inquests, into the deaths by suicide of people aged under 25 between January 2014 and December 2015 in England and Wales, extracting information about the stresses they were facing when they died.

  • The report emphasises the emotional impact of bereavement on young people and recommends that bereavement support should be widely available.
  • The researchers call on universities to do more to promote mental health on campus and support students who may be at risk.
  • The study identifies the treatment of self-harm as the most important service response in preventing suicide in young people.

Additional link: HQIP press release

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Teenagers turned away by overstretched health services resort to drastic action to get help

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Funding cuts to mental health services have made thresholds for treatment so high that young people are risking their lives in desperate bids to get help, according to the Times Educational Supplement. The article goes on to say that stretched children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are driving growing numbers of pupils to make what look like suicide attempts just so they can have their mental illness treated.

A survey conducted by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner showed that, of all pupils referred to CAMHS in 2015 (the latest figures available), only 14 per cent were able to access the service immediately.

Meanwhile, 28 per cent of those referred were not allocated a service at all. In some areas, this figure was as high as 75 per cent.

Read the full article: Pupils risking their lives as mental health services collapse

Strategies to prevent death by suicide

Riblet, N.B.V. et al. The British Journal of Psychiatry | Published online: April 2017

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Background: Few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have shown decreases in suicide.

Results: Among 8647 citations, 72 RCTs and 6 pooled analyses met inclusion criteria.

  • Three RCTs (n = 2028) found that the World Health Organization (WHO) brief intervention and contact (BIC) was associated with significantly lower odds of suicide (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.09–0.42).
  • Six RCTs (n = 1040) of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) for suicide prevention
  • Six RCTs of lithium (n = 619) yielded non-significant findings (OR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.12–1.03 and OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.05–1.02, respectively).

Conclusions: The WHO BIC is a promising suicide prevention strategy. No other intervention showed a statistically significant effect in reducing suicide.

Read the full abstract here

Suicide prevalence in Engalnd by occupation

Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis reveals which professions have the highest risk of suicide. | Public Health England | ONS

An analysis of ONS suicide prevalence statistics for 2011 to 2015 has been carried out to gain a better understanding of factors that influence suicide, in order to inform the government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy and help identify where inequalities exist amongst different groups.

The new ONS analysis shows that suicides are less common for females than males, and that there are differences in the types of occupation where suicide is more common. For women, occupations with a high risk of suicide include nurses (23% above the national average), primary school teachers (42% above average) and those working in culture, media and sport (69% above average).

For men, low skilled labourers in construction had a risk that was 3 times higher than that the average for England; men working in skilled construction jobs also had an increased risk. Both male and female care workers have a risk of suicide that was almost twice the national average.

To coincide with this publication, Public Health England, Business in the Community (BITC) and Samaritans have joined forces to produce toolkits for employers on how to prevent suicide and how to minimise the impact when it does happen.

The toolkits produced by PHE, BITC and Samaritans include advice on steps employers can take action to prevent suicides and support them and their teams when responding to the death of an employee caused by suicide.

Download the suicide prevention toolkit for employers.

Download the suicide postvention toolkit for employers.

Suicide prevention

Government’s suicide prevention strategy needs greater focus on implementation

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The Commons Select Committee has published Suicide prevention.  This report on the government’s suicide prevention strategy indicates the government must take action to ensure effective implementation of the strategy.  95% of local authorities have a suicide prevention plan but there is little information available regarding the quality of the plans.

Support after a suicide: a guide to providing local services

Support after a suicide: a guide to providing local services | Public Health England

This practical guidance helps commissioners understand why and how they can deliver support after suicide (also known as postvention support) in their local areas.

The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) has published further guidance on:

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Image source: http://www.gov.uk

Suicide prevention: third annual report

The third progress report of the suicide prevention strategy sets out what’s being done to reduce deaths by suicide in England | Department of Health

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Image source: gov.uk

The third progress report of the cross-government suicide prevention strategy details the activity that has taken place across England to reduce deaths by suicide in the year ending March 2016.

This report is being used to update the 2012 strategy in 5 main areas:

  • expanding the strategy to include self-harm prevention in its own right
  • every local area to produce a multi-agency suicide prevention plan
  • improving suicide bereavement support in order to develop support services
  • better targeting of suicide prevention and help seeking in high risk groups
  • improve data at both the national and local levels

These updates will help to meet the recommendations of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health relevant to suicide prevention: to reduce the number of suicides by 10% by the year ending March 2021 and for every local area to have a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place by the end of 2017.

Read the full overview here

Read the full report here