National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE sets out measures to reduce suicide attempts in public spaces and prisons

Physical barriers such as nets and fences at bridges and stations could reduce suicides, NICE says.

The draft guideline advises local businesses, community services and prisons on the support people considering suicide need. It says physical barriers like fences and netting in problem areas may be enough to make people reconsider their intentions. Using CCTV could also allow staff to monitor when people may need help.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the NICE centre for guidelines said: “Suicide is not inevitable. Physical barriers at problem sites like bridges and rail stations can make people stop and think. Evidence shows that if a barrier stops someone taking their life in one place they will not automatically try again somewhere else. Using this opportunity to direct people to seek help may save their life.”

In the event of a suspected suicide, NICE says local authorities should work closely with staff in public services to ensure the details are reported sensitively. For example, train station staff announcing delays caused by a suspected suicide, or journalists reporting on the occurrence should avoid giving too much detail.

If local authorities need to run suicide prevention campaigns in their area these should promote the idea that suicide is preventable and encourage people to seek help from local and national support groups like the Samaritans.

Friends, family, classmates and co-workers affected by suicide should be given information on what help is available to them as they may be at risk of harming themselves. This may also apply to emergency responders and other staff.

NICE says national procedures from Public Health England should quickly be put in place in areas where suicide is more likely.

Dr Ann Marie Connolly, deputy director, health equity and mental health, Public Health England said: “The prevention of suicide is an important public health issue and it is right that the draft guidance includes a focus on the prevention of suicide in prisons and other detention settings.

“Public Health England has also produced guidance for local areas on how to develop a suicide prevention plan, which all areas will have in place by summer 2018.”

Estimates show that each suicide costs the economy in England around £1.67 million.

Consultation on the draft guideline is open from 27 February 2018 until 12 April 2018.

If you are feeling suicidal, speak to a family member or friend you can trust, or you can call the Samaritans 24-hour support service on 116 123.

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