The UK government has released its National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England: 2023-28 aimed at reducing the number of suicides.
Professor Hawton is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England Advisory Group, which inputted into the strategy. He said:
The publication of the new national strategy is very welcome, especially as there have been several developments in relation to suicide in recent years that need prioritising.
For example, increases in suicide and self-harm in young people, the impact of social media and other online influences, recognition of suicide risk in certain specific subgroups (e.g. individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, women around the time of childbirth) and the emergence of new suicide methods.
This is in addition to the need for a continuing focus on prevention of suicide in middle-aged men, in whom suicide remains the most common cause of death. It is also important that the strategy emphasises initiatives that extend well beyond mental health services, including for example, public health measures and the role of the voluntary sector.
It is an ambitious strategy, with a large number of aims, and a target of reduced suicide rates within two and a half years. One hopes that this ambition leads to co-ordinated efforts across a wide range of agencies, backed by support across Government departments, to tackle the heavy toll for individuals, families, friends and society of this important cause of premature death."