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Today, 10th October is the Thames Valley Suicide Prevention Conference in Reading from the Thames Valley Suicide Prevention and Intervention Network (SPIN). Professor Keith Hawton, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, will be chairing the event.

Bma awards
Prof Raanan Gillon, BMA President, Clare Stafford, CEO Charlie Waller Memorial, Prof Keith Hawton and Dr Anne Stewart at the BMA Awards ceremony.

Professor Keith Hawton explains, "The Centre for Suicide Research has been linked with suicide prevention in the Thames Valley for a number of years. Over this time we have seen the introduction and benefits of real time monitoring of deaths by suspected suicide. This involves police liaising with local authorities and coroners, allowing the flow of real time information to be gathered and used, rather than needing to wait for statistics which may or may not appear for another year or two. This gathered information is very valuable. For example, it allows early identification of any clusters of suicides or changes in local patterns. It also means people bereaved by suicide of a family member or friend can be offered support and help at an early stage."

An important aspect of suicide prevention is the fact that it is strongly linked to non-fatal self-harm. Professor Hawton is co-ordinating the Multicentre Study for Self-harm in England. This study gathers data on all self-harm episodes presenting at general hospitals in three centres in England. This information is used for a range of investigations which inform national policy related to self-harm, including hospital management and aftercare of patients who self-harm.

In addition, the Centre for Suicide Research has developed guides on self-harm for both parents and school staff. Young people who self-harm - A Guide for School Staff was published in October 2018. Coping with self-harm - A Guide for Parents and Carers was published in 2016, to date 48,000 hard copies of this guide, for parents and carers, have been distributed by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.

Both of these important guides to preventing and coping with self-harm have won British Medical Association High Commendation Awards.

To view the guides:

Young people who self-harm - A Guide for School Staff

Coping with self-harm - A Guide for Parents and Carers

 

New paper - Clustering of suicides in children and adolescents published in The Lancet Child & adolescent Health.