By Costa Gauci

07th May 2020

Categorised in Mental & Emotional Health

The National Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee have found that suicide is at its highest in Wales since 1981. The committee’s report only considers suicides where a death has been registered but fears that the true figure is even higher. Last year, on record, out of the 360 people who took their own lives, 278 of those were men.

Dr. Dai Lloyd the Assembly Member (AM), who chairs the committee, has called for a suicide prevention training framework to be implemented across all public services and for a target to be introduced for waiting times for psychological therapies. The committee expressed their concern that only 60% of children who end up in hospital as a result of self-harming receive psychological assessments. Dr. Lloyd said ‘We know that if someone is having suicidal thoughts, receiving support from someone else can make a big difference.’

The committee made 31 recommendations to the Welsh government within their report on suicide prevention. The government have responded by saying that they welcomed the publication of the report and ‘We will consider the recommendations in detail, along with those in the Talk to me 2 [the Wales suicide and self-harm prevention action plan] mid-point review, before responding in due course.’

Rhian Burke, who has her own personal experience of suicide, supported the committee’s recommendations. Rhian set up her charity 2 Wish Upon A Star after her husband Paul took his own life in 2012, five days after their baby son George died from bronchial pneumonia and influenza. 2 Wish Upon A Star provides support to bereaved families who have lost a child or young adult under the age of 25. Rhian said that of the referrals they received in 2017 around a third were because of suicide. Rhian’s own experience meant she was left waiting for help and the aim of her charity is to contact the family within 24-48 hours to offer support. Rhian said, ‘The more that can be done to support families, the more I believe we could help the mental health of this country. ‘

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