Quality statement 2: Reducing access to methods of suicide
Multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships reduce access to methods of suicide based on local information.
Reducing access to common methods of suicide and to places where suicide may be more likely to occur can be an effective way of preventing suicide. A range of measures can be used to interrupt people's plans, giving them time to stop and think, or making it more difficult for them to put themselves in danger. An understanding of local information will help suicide prevention partnerships prioritise the methods and places to focus on locally.
a) Evidence that multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships collect and analyse local information on methods of suicide and locations.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, data sharing protocols and a rapid intelligence gathering process.
b) Evidence that multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships identify how they will reduce access to methods of suicide.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, local suicide prevention action plan.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, local suicide prevention action plan progress reports.
a) Number of suicides by methods identified in the local suicide prevention action plan.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, rapid intelligence gathering. Detailed information on methods should not be included in the published suicide prevention action plan.
b) Number of suicides in high-frequency locations.
Data source: Public Health England's Suicide Prevention Profile includes data on the rate of suicide in local authority areas for different population groups (based on Office for National Statistics source data).
Multi-agency suicide prevention partnerships gather and analyse information from a range of sources to understand local patterns in suicide method and location. The partnership uses this information to prioritise the methods and locations to focus on. It includes these priorities in the suicide prevention action plan, identifies actions and regularly reviews progress.
The partnership supports partner organisations to ensure that they comply with national guidance on issues such as providing and maintaining safer cells in residential custodial or detention settings and restricting access to painkillers. The partnership also facilitates data sharing protocols between organisations to support timely analysis of data and actions to reduce access to methods of suicide for people in high-risk groups.
People in the community and in custody know that organisations are working together to prevent suicide.
Preventing suicide in community and custodial settings (2018) NICE guideline NG105, recommendations 1.6.1, 1.6.2 and 1.6.3
Suicide prevention partnerships should ensure local compliance with national guidance:
In custodial settings, for example, provide safer cells (see the Ministry of Justice's Quick-time learning bulletin: safer cells).
In the local community, for example, restrict access to painkillers (see NHS England's Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care: guidance for CCGs, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's Best practice guidance on the sale of medicines for pain relief [appendix 4 in the Blue guide], and Faculty of Pain Medicine's Opioids aware).
Reduce the opportunity for suicide in locations where suicide is more likely, for example by erecting physical barriers (see Public Health England's Preventing suicide in public places: a practice resource). Also consider other measures such as:
providing information about how and where people can get help when they feel unable to cope
using CCTV or other surveillance to allow staff to monitor when someone may need help
increasing the number and visibility of staff, or times when staff are available
working with planners who have responsibility for designing bridges, multi-storey car parks and other structures that could potentially pose a suicide risk.
[NICE's guideline on preventing suicide in community and custodial settings recommendations 1.3.2, 1.6.2, 1.6.3 and 1.6.4]
Suicide prevention partnerships should use local data including audit, Office for National Statistics and NHS data, as well as rapid intelligence gathering, to:
identify emerging trends in suicide methods and locations
understand local characteristics that may influence the methods used
determine when to take action to reduce access to the methods of suicide.
[NICE's guideline on preventing suicide in community and custodial settings recommendation 1.6.1]