ENGLAND: Improvements in NHS Mental Health Care in England May Have Helped to Reduce Suicide Rates

May 06, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Medical Xpress

Service delivery improvements and organizational factors in the mental health services provided by England’s National Health Service were associated with a significant decrease in suicide rates, according to a recent study. Between 1997 and 2012, implementation of each of 16 service changes and recommendations were associated with a 20–30 percent reduction in the suicide rate. The changes linked to the largest decreases in suicide were greater availability of specialized community services, improved management of patients with both substance abuse and major mental illness, new policies to manage adolescents’ transition to adult mental health services, review of suicide deaths with the families, and implementation of specific guidelines for treating depression. The study also found an association between higher suicide rates and broader organizational factors, such as higher non-medical staff turnover. “A workforce that is constantly changing is likely to affect the continuity of care and this could compromise safety,” said Professor Nav Kapur, lead author and Head of Suicide Research at the Centre for Suicide Prevention, University of Manchester. “Our study suggests that many of these interventions may prevent suicide and save lives. The data also show that at least as important as these initiatives might be the organizational context in which they are introduced.”

Spark Extra! For more information on this study, look at the abstract of the journal article.