Well done Norman Lamb for taking suicides seriously

I’ve commented previously on how many suicides there are, and how rarely these tragedies register on the political radar.

For example, from 2010 comes this:

There are seven suicides for every one murder
I sort of knew this statistic already, but was quite shocked when working out the actual numbers:

Number of murders in the UK: 786
Number of suicides in the UK:  5,706

The proportion of murders which get reported in the media is extremely high compared with nearly all other crimes or forms of death. Many of the reasons for that are understandable, but one risk of giving murders such prominence is that it unbalances public perception of how many people are murdered compared with other crimes or deaths. That in turn effects the issues which politicians speak out about.

Having looked up the figures, I do now wonder whether murder features too often in political speeches and suicide not nearly enough.

Murder figures: 2007-8 figures for Scotland, 2008-9 figures for elsewhere. Suicide figures: 2008.

So it is great to see new Health Minister Norman Lamb making suicide the subject of one of his first initiatives:

The government has promised to put £1.5m into research exploring how to prevent suicides among those most at risk of taking their own lives.

The pledge comes as ministers unveiled a suicide prevention strategy that aims to cut the suicide rate and provide more support to bereaved families

Funding will be used to look at how the number of suicides can be reduced among people with a history of self-harm…

Launching the strategy to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, the care services minister, Norman Lamb, said: “One death to suicide is one too many – we want to make suicide prevention everyone’s business.

“Over the last 10 years there has been real progress in reducing the suicide rate, but it is still the case that someone takes their own life every two hours in England.

“We want to reduce suicides by better supporting those most at risk and providing information for those affected by a loved one’s suicide.” [The Guardian]

(Given the speed with which this has happened since his appointment to the Department of Health, doubtless it follows up on preparatory work by his predecessor Paul Burstow who therefore also deserves credit.)


3 responses to “Well done Norman Lamb for taking suicides seriously”

  1. As the NHS techniques get cleverer and cleverer, and doctors refuse to end lifes humanely for fear of prosection, I would expect suicide to increase as its the only way out of unnecessary pain for some people.

    • It's also a matter of conscience though. Its also against the Hippocratic oath. I'm an A and E nurse and I agree with the doctors. It's not a doctors role

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