NHS in North West should aim for zero suicides – Mark Hunter MP

Health bosses in the North West have been urged to back a campaign aimed at dramatically reducing the number of suicides across the NHS.

Local MP for Cheadle constituency, Mark Hunter, has called on local NHS trusts to commit to an ambition for ‘zero suicides’ in their care.  It follows Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s call for an overhaul of how the health service treats mental health.

Today Mark Hunter said Stockport NHS Foundation Trust should think about how it could to provide better provide care for people suffering depression and other serious illnesses.  Commenting, Mark said:

“Latest figures show 715 people took their own lives in the North West in 2013, a total of 4,700 suicides in England overall. More than three quarters of these deaths were men.

“This is not inevitable. These tragic deaths can be prevented. The majority of people who are feeling suicidal do not want to die. We have to do more to make sure people have the support they need so they do not get to the point where they believe taking their own life is their only option.

“That’s why I hope Stockport NHS Foundation Trust will commit to the new ambition of zero suicides in our area. We have have to work together to remove the stigma around talking about suicide, so people are not afraid to ask for help.”

Three areas - Liverpool, the South West and East England have already created programmes to eliminate suicide by 2017/18 and steps could include:

·         Keeping in touch with patients who move back home after being on a ward

·         Having a personal safety plan in place so patients, family and friends know what to do and where to go for help if they need it

·         Joining all services up so that patients who are at risk will not fall through the cracks - linking GP, carers and mental health services

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

“Suicide is, and always has been, a massive taboo in our society. People are genuinely scared to talk about it, never mind intervene when they believe a loved one is at risk.

“This isn’t about blame. It is about doing more in every area of our society to ensure that people don’t get to that point where they believe taking their own life is their only option.”

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