Swansea academic’s key role in WG’s new five year plan to reduce suicide and self harm in Wales

A new five-year plan to reduce suicide and self harm in Wales has been unveiled for consultation by the Welsh Government.

Talk to Me 2, which builds on the first Talk to Me plan, launched in 2009, has been developed by the National Advisory Group for Suicide and Self harm prevention. 

The group’s chair, Ann John, Associate Professor at Swansea University’s College of Medicine and Public Health Wales consultant in Public health Medicine, led on writing the strategy with input from a range of stakeholders including Samaritans, MIND Cymru, Cruse, Papyrus, the Police, and Health Services.

The strategy consultation was launched at a meeting today (Monday, January 5) at the Cardiff & District branch of Samaritans by Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford, at which Ann John, Associate Professor at Swansea University’s College of Medicine, also spoke.

In Talk to Me 2’s Ministerial Foreword, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I thank Associate Professor Ann John and her leadership of the National Advisory Group in its work to develop this strategy and action plan. I commend both to you and I look forward to services further developing and improving.”

Ann John said: “Suicide is the result of many different risk factors interacting in complex ways.

“Because of this, suicide prevention requires the action of multiple organisations across sectors. This is why national suicide prevention strategies are a key component in reducing suicide. They establish the strategic framework needed for a range of interventions to be brought in nationally, regionally and locally in a joined-up way.

“I feel privileged to have been involved in developing the new strategy and action plan for Wales with the National Advisory Group for Suicide and Self harm prevention.”

Each year in Wales between 300 and 350 people die from suicide – about three times the number killed in road accidents. There are approximately 5,500 hospital admissions for self harm every year.

Talk to Me 2 sets out the strategic aims and objectives to prevent and reduce suicide and self harm in Wales between 2014 and 2019. It also builds on and complements Together for Mental Health and the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010.

It identifies those groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to suicide and self harm and sets out the care they should receive, provided in the right place, at the right time.

Talk to Me 2, which was published for consultation on December 12, 2014, will be subject to a 12-week consultation, which closes on March 5, 2015.

The suicide and self harm prevention activities, which will be a national priority in Wales over the next five years include:

  • Reducing access to the means of suicide;
  • Delivering appropriate responses to personal crises, early intervention and management of suicide and self harm;
  • Further improving awareness, knowledge and understanding of suicide and self harm among the public; people who frequently come into contact with those at risk of suicide and self harm and professionals in Wales;
  • Providing information and support for people bereaved or affected by suicide and self harm;
  • Supporting the media in responsible reporting and portrayal of suicide and suicidal behaviour;
  • Continuing to promote and support learning, information and monitoring systems and research to improve understanding of suicide and self harm in Wales and guide action.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Suicide is usually in response to a complex series of factors, which are both personal and related to wider social and community influences. It is a tragedy for all concerned and is a cause of distress for many people – the individual, family, friends, professionals and the wider community.

“It is estimated that for every person who dies through suicide at least six others are significantly and directly affected. Many others may be indirectly affected. Losing someone through suicide can be particularly traumatic and difficult to cope with; its impacts are psychological, spiritual and economic.

“Our five-year strategy aims to promote, co-ordinate and support plans and programmes to reduce suicide and prevent self harm at national, regional and local levels.

“Prevention of suicide and self harm is a major challenge for us all, but no single organisation or government department can tackle this issue in isolation. The successful implementation of Together for Mental Health, the Measure and Talk to Me 2 will make a significant contribution to the prevention of suicide and self harm in Wales.”

A copy of the Talk to Me 2: Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Strategy for Wales Consultation can be found here http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dhss/consultation/141212strategyen.pdf.


If you need to talk to someone, please contact the Community Advice and Listening Line (CALL) on Freephone 0800 132737 or text HELP and your question to 81066.

You can also contact the Samaritans on 08457 909 090.