THE GUARDIAN: The bold new fight to eradicate suicide

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 1/8/2017

Description

Removing the means of suicide has become a growing part of modern prevention strategies, whether or not they come with a “zero” tag. In the early 2000s, the UK Department of Health asked the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, a research programme at the University of Manchester, to recommend a way to reduce suicides on mental health wards. “From our data, we said remove the ligature points that make it possible for people to hang themselves,” said Louis Appleby, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the inquiry. He also leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England.

By 2002, wards were required to remove non-collapsible curtain rails in bathrooms and around beds. A later study by Appleby’s team, published in 2012, showed that inpatient suicide cases by hanging on hospital wards in England and Wales fell from 57 in 1999 to 15 in 2007. “There was also a broader effect, because mental health wards seem to have got safer more generally as the issue of safety became more prominent,” Appleby said. Outside hospitals, measures that have reduced suicide by specific methods – whether or not that was the intention – have included legislation to reduce the size of paracetamol packages (intended) and the conversion of coal-gas ovens to natural gas in the 1950s (unintended).

Media contributions

TitleThe bold new fight to eradicate suicide
Media name/outletThe Guardian
Media typeWeb
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Date1/08/17
DescriptionRemoving the means of suicide has become a growing part of modern prevention strategies, whether or not they come with a “zero” tag. In the early 2000s, the UK Department of Health asked the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, a research programme at the University of Manchester, to recommend a way to reduce suicides on mental health wards. “From our data, we said remove the ligature points that make it possible for people to hang themselves,” said Louis Appleby, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the inquiry. He also leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England.

By 2002, wards were required to remove non-collapsible curtain rails in bathrooms and around beds. A later study by Appleby’s team, published in 2012, showed that inpatient suicide cases by hanging on hospital wards in England and Wales fell from 57 in 1999 to 15 in 2007. “There was also a broader effect, because mental health wards seem to have got safer more generally as the issue of safety became more prominent,” Appleby said. Outside hospitals, measures that have reduced suicide by specific methods – whether or not that was the intention – have included legislation to reduce the size of paracetamol packages (intended) and the conversion of coal-gas ovens to natural gas in the 1950s (unintended).
URLhttps://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/01/zero-suicide-the-bold-new-fight-to-eradicate-suicide
PersonsLouis Appleby