Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention

Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention

Protective factors for emotional and mental health include those which promote strong social and personal relationships. Developing personal skills and enhancing emotional resilience at any life stage are fundamental aspects of mental health promotion. There are many settings (in schools, employment, society) in which building resilience and personal skills can, and should, be encouraged.

Resilience is not static. It consists of a dynamic range of personal characteristics, experiences and relationships that provide protection in the face of stress. These features include how people look at the world and their place in it and their esteem and personal skills. Their abilities for making and sustaining relationships with other people are particularly important. (Welsh Government, 2009)

The reasons for self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide are complex and person-specific. It is estimated that between 3-5% of the population experience suicidal thoughts in any one year and these may lead some people to harm themselves or complete suicide. (Welsh Government, 2009)

People should feel able and have the life skills to open up about their feelings and problems and seek help and advice. Tackling the stigma associated with mental health and emotional problems will contribute to this. Accessible help and support to cope with emotional distress and adverse life events – unmanaged debt, unemployment, relationship breakdown, bereavement and loss – is also needed and other areas such as tackling substance misuse, improving life chances (employment and educational attainment) are important considerations for suicide and self harm prevention.

Suicide is about three times more common in men than women.  This may be because men tend to use different methods to those used by women.  Women are much more likely than men to be admitted to hospital as a result of self harm.

People who are already at risk of suicide or self harm can also be influenced by media reports of suicide.  The rates of these often increase following media reporting, particularly when someone well known has died in this way.

In March 2014, the Child Death Review Programme produced a thematic review looking at suicides in children and young people in Wales.  The report examined factors that have contributed to suicide deaths in children and young people, identified opportunities for prevention, and made recommendations to reduce the risk of suicide for children and young people in Wales.

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