NHSCC joins call for Zero Suicide Healthcare

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) has joined together with organisations and individuals from more than 20 countries to release the International Declaration for Zero Suicide Healthcare a call to action to protect patients who enter our health system, their relatives and staff against the tragedy of suicide.

Dr Phil Moore, Chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners’ Mental Health Commissioners’ Network, said, “Despite improvements, we must do more to be certain that people who feel suicidal have easy and ready access to help and support. Much is being done and progress is being made, but one life lost to suicide is one too many. With the backing of the NHS Long Term Plan, and many individuals and organisations around the country, we can make a difference.”

The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 people a year worldwide die by suicide. Most saw a health care professional in the year prior to their death.

The Rotterdam Declaration outlines the key drivers for successful implementation of Zero Suicide Healthcare. It is designed for healthcare leaders, staff working with suicidal people and for governments and politicians; media; industries and employers; public health and suicide prevention organizations; persons with lived experience and their family/friends and scientists. Comprehensive collaboration is essential to move the needle and drive down population suicide rates.

Dr Moore has written a blog for NHS Voices about the Declaration, or you can watch this short film to find out more.

Signatories to the declaration from around the world highlighted the issues that the Declaration intends to solve. “The problem isn’t that those at risk are disconnected from the healthcare system, it’s that gaps exist that allow these individuals to slip through. Healthcare has remained unchanged, presuming many deaths were tragically inevitable”, said David Covington, CEO and President of RI International and founder of Zero Suicide International, based in the USA.

“For those entering our healthcare system, we should know which individuals are at risk, we should have clear treatment pathways available, and we should be ensuring they leave our hospital system with a safety plan in place that has been developed in partnership with clinicians, the patient and their family or caregiver,” said Dr. Julie Goldstein Grumet, Director of the Zero Suicide Institute at EDC, Inc.

“New approaches are needed within our healthcare systems to meet the increasing demand for services. We need to improve quality and safety while remaining conscious of cost increases. Zero Suicide Healthcare helps health systems re-frame their approaches to meet all these criteria,” said Dr. Ian Dawe, Program Chief of Mental Health, Trillium Health Partners‎ in Ontario, Canada.

To further support implementation, detailed resources are available from www.zerosuicidealliance.com

4 April 2019