The study in question has been published in health journal the Lancet, and has suggested that new interventions such as introducing a 24-hour crisis team for individuals who have refused treatment appear to have had a positive impact.
Whilst the way in which the study was carried out means that researchers cannot say whether it was the reforms that were responsible for the reduction or other changes in society – comparing figures from before and after the recommendations were introduced has left researchers feeling fairly certain that they did have an impact.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Nav Kapur from the University of Manchester – where the study was conducted – has said that he and his team have estimated that there were 200 to 300 fewer suicides per year as a result of the measures.
The idea of the reforms came about in 2001, when a series of recommendations were made in a bid to reduce the number of suicides among individuals receiving mental health care.
Over a decade after the changes were introduced and it would seem that providing more intensive support to vulnerable individuals has actually helped to reduce the rates of patient suicides.
The findings have been welcomed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists: “We welcome this excellent study showing how local implementation of comprehensive mental health services reduces the number of people who die by suicide.” Commented director of public education at the organisation, Dr Peter Byrne.
“It proves the value of investing in safe psychiatric wards, close follow-up of discharged patients and specialised teams.” He said.
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