Suicide rate falls but goal missed

Introducing supervised community treatment into the Mental Health Bill will help drive down suicide rates, claims the DoH.

It follows a report from the National Institute for Mental Health in England, which shows suicide rates of 8.5 per 100,000 population from 2003 to 2005.

This is an improvement on the 9.2 suicides per 100,000 population recorded in 1995 to 1997, but remains above the 2002 White Paper target to reduce the rate to 7.3 deaths per 100,000 by 2010.

Suicide rates could be reduced further by using supervised community treatment to ensure compliance with medication, according to DoH mental health czar Professor Louis Appleby.

Data from the ‘Avoidable Deaths’ report published in December last year showed that 14 per cent of all suicides followed non-compliance with treatment.

Adding supervised community treatment to the Mental Health Bill for England and Wales is currently being debated by parliament.

But North Shields GP Dr Dave Tomson, who has an interest in mental health, said: ‘Many people remain anxious about the use of compulsory treatment orders in the community.’

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