HEALTH Minister Edwina Hart has announced a nationwide action plan aimed at tackling the problem of suicide in Wales.
In a letter to all AMs, Mrs Hart said, "The recent sad deaths from suicide in young people in South Wales has highlighted the need for us to pull together the significant amounts of suicide prevention policy and initiatives in place into a single action plan. I thought colleagues would find it helpful for me to report on the policy context and my proposals for a Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Wales.
"I have asked my officials to take forward this work at once and build on progress made in line with the existing Mental Health National Service Frameworks for Adults and Children and the Mental Health Promotion Action Plan. For your information I attach a summary of some current policy and initiatives that are under way in Wales.
"As you can see, there is already considerable work to build on in Wales and I hope you will support my proposed Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Wales which will pull them together. The Action Plan should take account of up-to-date best evidence from across the UK and in particular Scotland's 'Choose Life' campaign that has had good initial evaluation of its effectiveness. I have already agreed that there will be some early pilot projects in suicide prevention work in those areas with the highest suicide rates and am aware that the rates vary across Wales and are not associated with one area. This is a national problem and not solely in one local authority area, so the projects will be in different parts of Wales.
"There is good evidence from across the world that media reporting needs to be responsible in order not to increase rates and encourage 'copycat' suicides. …