Suicide prevention inquiry launched

22 July 2016

The Health Committee has launched an inquiry into the action which is necessary to improve suicide prevention in England.

When someone takes their own life, the effect on their family, friends and the wider community is devastating. The Government published Preventing Suicide in England: A cross-governmental outcomes strategy to save lives, and two updates have been published since (in 2014 and 2015 (PDF 482KB)).

Suicide rates in England have nonetheless been rising in recent years, reaching 4,882 in 2014, the most recent year for which official national statistics are available.

Suicide disproportionately affects men, with male suicides accounting for over three quarters of all UK suicides in 2014. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for men aged 15-49. However, the figures also show a 14% increase in female suicide between 2013 and 2014, demonstrating the necessity of work targeted at both sexes.

The Health Committee seeks to examine what further action should be taken to prevent suicide.

Terms of reference

The Health Committee invites written submissions on the following points:

  • The factors influencing the increase in suicide rates, with a focus on particularly at-risk groups
  • The social and economic costs of suicide and attempted suicide
  • The measures necessary to tackle increasing suicide rates, and the barriers to doing so—in particular the Committee will consider the role of:
  1. Local authorities and partner organisations, including police, transport police, the rail industry, fire services, schools, youth services, and drug and alcohol services
  2. Mental health services and other parts of secondary care, including A&E and psychiatric liaison services
  3. Primary care services
  4. Referrals from non-statutory services - local support groups, faith groups, carers, friends and family
  5. Examples of best practice, including those from other countries
  • Media reporting of suicide, the effectiveness of guidelines for the reporting of suicide, and the role of social media and suicidal content online
  • The value of data collection for suicide prevention, and the action necessary to improve the collection of data on suicide.

Those making submissions to the Committee are welcome to address any or all of the above points. The Committee would also welcome any other comments on or information about suicide and suicide prevention work which stakeholders may wish to bring to its attention.

Deadline for submissions

Submissions should not exceed 3000 words, and should reach the Committee (through the link below) by Friday 9 September. Oral evidence is expected to be taken in October.

Please be aware that we are unable to respond to submissions or comment on cases individually.  If you are in need of confidential emotional support, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day by calling free on 116123, or emailing

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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