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Suicide prevention and patient safety

09 May 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 9


Suicide is a major national and global problem. John Tingle discusses several recent reports on suicide prevention and addresses some litigation and patient safety issues

The focus of health resource allocation in the NHS has traditionally been on the physical health sector and mental health has generally come a poor second in terms of priority. This is changing and there is now a strong government and NHS commitment to improve mental health services. Suicide and suicide prevention are one facet of this work. Suicide is a major national and global problem and urgent action is needed to reduce its incidence.

The World Health Organization (WHO) (2019) has stated that close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which translates to one person dying every 40 seconds. For each adult who died by suicide, there may have been more than 20 others who attempted it. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds globally and occurs throughout the lifespan (WHO, 2019).

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