As UMHAN’s new Policy and Engagement Officer, I’m here to help Charity Manager Sam keep on top of new research and policy that members might find relevant. To start the ball rolling, I’ve summarised a recent report from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) from the University of Manchester.  If you come across research or policy you think might be relevant to UMHAN, please get in touch with me, Rachel Spacey: [email protected]  

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (2023). Annual Report 2023: UK patient and general population data, 2010-2020. University of Manchester.

The findings in this detailed report (44 pages) relate to people aged 10 and above who died by suicide between 2010 and 2020 across all UK countries. It is aimed at clinical services (please also see UMHAN’s Clinical Governance for Mental Health Services) but there are some messages of relevance to members

  • Patient (defined as people in contact with mental health services within 12 months of suicide) suicide numbers and rates in the UK are relatively stable. 
  • Common factors associated with suicide include living alone, self-harm and comorbid alcohol and drug misuse. Loss of contact is still common before suicide; report authors recommend services should actively re-establish care in this situation. 
  • Additional risks due to the cost of living crisis.  Be aware of new problems such as loss of benefits, housing, etc. and have the information to signpost patients to sources of financial support and advice.
  • The increase in suicide among young people in the general population is reflected in the patient population. For under 18s, family and educational settings, and the management of anxiety and autism, are important. In the older group (19-25), prevention should emphasise the treatment of severe mental illness and co-morbid substance misuse. 
  • Self-harm services are crucial to the under-25s. 
  • The number of suicides among students increased by 52% over the report period, from an average of 25 (2010- 2013) to 38 per year (2017-2020). In 2016-2020, 11% were known to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans (LGBT) - more than older patients (4%).
  • Suicides amongst patients given a diagnosis of personality disorder appear to be increasing, particularly among women. 
  • Patients who identify as LGB or Trans: the prejudice that patients in LGB and Trans groups have experienced, and other factors may add to suicide risk. Many have a history of abuse. Psychological therapies addressing previous trauma should be offered.
  • Trans patients were significantly younger than other patients, with more aged under 25, unmarried, a full-time student or living alone. 
  • Suicide-related internet use is a feature of suicide by mental health patients of all ages. It takes several forms, including information promoting suicide methods, visiting pro-suicide websites, and communicating suicidal intent online. Enquiry about exposure to internet risks should be a routine part of risk assessment.

Visit their page for easy to read versions, video of key messages, sheets for service users and more.

We have researchers coming to talk about how to have conversations with young people and their mental health and digital technology at the UMHAN AGM and All Member Meeting on September 7 2023:

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