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Mental health

Background

Every suicide is a tragedy and causes distress for family, friends, professionals and the wider community. Although the factors that contribute to a suicide are many and complex, suicide is potentially preventable. Swansea University has run a series of studies investigating factors that may have contributed to these deaths.

They have also looked for opportunities for prevention and made recommendations to reduce the risk of suicide for the people of Wales and beyond.

The study

One of the studies is the Suicide Information Database-Wales or SID-Cymru, led by Dr Ann John, Swansea University. SID-Cymru anonymously links electronic routinely collected information on prior health, nature of previous contacts with services and wider social circumstances of all those who complete suicide (known and unknown to mental health services) within the population of Wales via Swansea University’s Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank.

The SAIL Databank contains vast amounts of data routinely collected on a daily basis by health and social care systems to support people’s care. The team at Swansea University, which includes Professors Keith Lloyd and Michael Dennis, are also conducting a study related to the impact of media reporting of suicide.


Impact

  • Data from SID-Cymru has informed ‘Talk to Me 2’, the latest suicide prevention strategy for Wales, due to be launched in June 2015. There is a particular focus on opportunities for prevention in primary care and emergency departments.
  • Data from SID-Cymru informed the ‘Thematic review of deaths of children and young people through probable suicide, 2006-2012’. The review made a number of recommendations to various agencies, including Welsh Government, such as minimum pricing for alcohol.
  • The team at Swansea University worked with the Samaritans on the adoption of the Samaritans ‘Media reporting guidelines for suicide’ in Wales.
  • Dr John, Professor Gunnell (Bristol University) and the Samaritans met with Welsh media editors and journalists in 2012 to discuss and promote sensible media reporting of suicide.
  • Dr John and Professor Dennis presented recommendations from the media reporting work to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide Prevention in 2014.