Suicide rate lowest ever, but more work is needed

A report has shown the lowest overall suicide rate amongst the general population of England on record, but further work in required to meet the Government’s target.

The progress report, published by the National Institute of Mental Health in England has also revealed a fall in suicide rates amongst men, a fall in the rate of self-inflicted deaths in prisons and a fall in the number a suicides amongst mental health in-patients.

However, the report highlights the ongoing problem of suicide amongst discharged mental health patients who do not take their medication or lose contact with services. Supervised Community Treatment (SCT), a measure to improve clinical risk management that the Government is introducing in its Mental Health Bill, aims to resolve this issue.

National director for mental health Professor Louis Appleby said: 'We are seeing encouraging progress towards the target to reduce suicide by 20 per cent by 2010, but it is important that we maintain the momentum.'

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England annual report on progress 2006 is available online at www.nimhe.csip.org.uk

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