Irish Penal Reform Trust

UK: First cross-government suicide prevention plan

22nd January 2019

The UK Government has published the first cross-government suicide prevention plan emphasising the need to reduce deaths from suicide in England through the use of social media and new technology. It sets out the actions being taken up to 2020 to carry out the suicide prevention strategy for England and will be led by the new Suicide Prevention Minister Jackie Doyle-Price.

The plan establishes the need to include suicide awareness in staff training across all sectors and references implementation of the Prison Safety Programme as a key action of the work plan.

The plan establishes the need to include suicide awareness in staff training across all sectors and references implementation of the Prison Safety Programme as a key action of the work plan.

The Prison Safety Programme will see the recruitment of more than 3,100 new prison officers, ongoing funding to the Samaritans in support of the ‘Listener’ scheme, improved training for prison staff and ongoing investment and modernisation of the prison estate generally.

The plan also commits to the publication of a final research report in March 2019 as part of an 18-month research programme to review self-inflicted deaths in the Criminal Justice System by exploring contributory factors and identifying approaches.

Other aspects of the plan include:

  • Encouraging prison establishments to ensure local safety strategies include links with local authority suicide prevention partnerships and plans;
  • Improving multidisciplinary work methods across the MOJ, HMPPS and health partners; and
  • Increasing data available to local authorities regarding mental health needs among prisoners to support more collaborative approach to suicide prevention from those recently released from prison.

Read the UK Cross-government suicide prevention plan here.

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