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Suicide prevention

Suicide prevention

This page is dedicated to helping professionals and members of the public to understand the importance of suicide prevention. Our aim is not only to reduce suicides but also support families bereaved by suicide and those most vulnerable.

The resources below, we hope, will increase wider awareness and ways to get further help.  

Call the Samaritans on 116 123 if you need help

If you need to speak with someone immediately call the Samaritans on 116 123.

You can also visit the Hub of Hope website for help.

Guide to Suicide Prevention

Berkshire Suicide Prevention Strategy

We have joined up with our neighbouring councils to produce a joint Berkshire Suicide Prevention Strategy (PDF document.)

Cross-government suicide prevention strategy

In January 2017 the third progress report of the cross-government suicide prevention strategy included an update to the 2012 strategy in 5 main areas

  1. Better and more consistent local planning and action by ensuring ever local area has a multi-agency suicide prevention plan, with agreed priorities and actions
  2. Better targeting of suicide prevention and help seeking in high risk groups such as middle aged men, those in places of custody/detention or in contact with the criminal justice system and with mental health services
  3. Expanding the scope of the national strategy to include self-harm prevention in its own right
  4. Improving responses to bereavement by suicide and support services
  5. Improving data at national and local level and how this data is used to help take action and target efforts more accurately


The updates will help to meet the recommendations of the 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health relevant to suicide prevention: to reduce the number of suicides by 10 percent by March 2021 and for every local area to have a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place by the end of 2017.

The third progress report also details the activity that has taken place across England to reduce deaths by suicide in the year ending March 2016.

The fourth progress report will be published in spring 2018.

National policy provides the framework for local suicide prevention strategies and action plans. 

Key national policies

The key national policies and documentation to be aware of, and to consider include

  • National suicide prevention strategy (2012). This provides a comprehensive framework for identifying and shaping local priorities
  • Preventing suicide in England: third progress report (January 2017). This includes a call for a renewed focus and action around five areas
  • House of Commons Health Committee: Suicide prevention (March 2017). This outlines key areas for consideration by the Government
  • Government response to the Health Select Committee’s Inquiry into Suicide Prevention (July 2017)
  • Five year forward view for mental health (February 2016). This report of an independent task force sets the target to reduce suicides by 10 percent nationally by 2021
  • All-Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-harm Prevention report on the future of local suicide prevention plans (January 2015). This report includes findings from a survey of 150 of the 152 local authorities and demonstrates variation in local implementation of the national strategy
  • NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines. Various guidelines can inform evidence-based practice

Wider public mental health support

It is important to also consider wider public mental health and well-being programmes targeting adults and children, for example

  • No health without mental health (2011)
  • NHS Operating planning and contracting guidance 
  • Outcomes frameworks (2015-2016)
  • Future in mind (2015)
  • Local transformation plans for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing (2015)
  • Mental health crisis care concordat 
  • Sustainability and transformation plans 


Responsible media reporting is critical. We provide support to the media in delivering sensitive approaches to suicide and suicidal behaviour. Read the documents below for more details.


Read our bereavement support page to find help with coping with grief and loss.

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