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Jerome García September 11, 2023 3 min read
Gambling Identified as Risk Factor in New DHSC Suicide Prevention Program
The new cross-sector program seeks to reduce the suicide rate in England over the next five years
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the department in charge of government policies related to adult social care and health in England, released details regarding a new 5-year cross-sector suicide prevention strategy. Details regarding the new strategy emerged Monday and gambling was identified as one of the risk factors, along with domestic abuse, that link to suicide. Additional risk factors include physical illness, as well as alcohol and drug misuse, among others.
The DHSC revealed that over the last decade, suicide bereavement services and suicide prevention efforts received support from different grants. Such collective efforts resulted in the lowest rate of suicides which were recorded in 2017. It said that while the current suicide rate hasn’t increased significantly when compared to 2012, it is not falling. This pushed the DHSC to introduce a new cross-government strategy that ultimately seeks to reduce the suicide rate.
The new strategy spans over 5 years, however, the DHSC said that it anticipates seeing positive change in half that time. The new suicide prevention strategy will focus not only on prevention but also on support for people who have been bereaved by suicide or people who have self-harmed.
The Strategy Seeks to Prevent Suicide and Provide Support
Citing statistics, Professor Sir Louis Appleby said that the suicide rate hasn’t seen a decrease since 2018. He added that each year, more than 5,000 people commit suicide in England. Moreover, the DHSC pointed out that the rate of suicide among males is three times higher when compared to females while self-harm and suicides have also increased among younger demographics.
“So the first purpose of a national strategy is to make it clear that suicide prevention matters. It is a way of updating our priorities, reflecting new evidence on who is at risk. The new strategy therefore highlights domestic violence, gambling, online safety and people on the margins of society because of poverty, ethnicity, disability or prejudice.“Professor Sir Louis Appleby
Maria Caulfield MP spoke about the devastating impact suicide has on the lives of family members and friends. She added that the government is committed to reducing the suicide rate with the help of the new 5-year cross-government strategy.
Caulfield spoke about evidence that shows links between suicide and problem gambling, as well as domestic abuse. She explained that prevention plays an important role in the new strategy while at the same time, revealing that if prevention fails, effective and decisive actions can be taken to save a life.
To ensure effective prevention and support, some £150 million ($187.7 million) has been dedicated. Caulfield thanked everyone involved in the development of the new strategy and urged everyone to support their family and friends, helping people who need support to access it.