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This paper sets out suicide prevention policies in England.

The national suicide prevention strategy, Preventing Suicide in England: A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives, was first published in 2012. Its key aims are to reduce the suicide rate in the general population in England and better support those bereaved or affected by suicide. It was updated in 2017 to including tackling self-harm as an issue in its own right. To support the strategy, the NHS asked all Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to deliver local multi-agency suicide prevention plans.

The strategy included a commitment to reduce the rate of suicides in England by 10% by 2020/21 (compared to 2015 levels). The most recent progress report (January 2019) showed a 9.2% reduction in suicides. The Government will measure success against this target based on suicide registrations for 2020, expected to be published by the ONS in 2021.

The NHS Long-term Plan (January 2019) reaffirmed the commitment to make suicide prevention a priority over the next decade. It committed to rolling out funding to further Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) areas, implementing a new Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme, and rolling out suicide bereavement services across the country.

The Cross-Government suicide prevention workplan (January 2019) also commits every area of Government to taking action on suicide and sets out clear deliverables and timescales against which progess on the key commitments set out in the Suicide Prevention Strategy will be monitored.

The Government has allocated funding of £57 million for suicide prevention work up to 2023/24.

A fifth progress report was published in March 2021. This sets out additional Government support and funding for suicide prevention to address additional pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes £5 million to support suicide prevention by voluntary and community sector organisations over 2021-2022. The report also notes that, although full data is not yet available, early indications do not suggest a rise in the number of suicides when comparing pre- and post-lockdown figures, for January to August 2020. 

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