Reducing suicides - How far can we go?

The Jordan Legacy’s action research project is progressing well. We are listening and learning. Have we interviewed you yet or set up an appointment? Please let us know if you want to be included.

When we look at the UK suicide statistics and see more than 6,000 deaths each year for the past 15-16 years, our hearts and our heads tell us that we can surely do better.

Our action research is designed to answer two fundamental questions: how can we reduce the number of suicides in the UK and how far can we go in reducing the numbers.

The question of how we can reduce the numbers, ie what effective actions we can take, will keep generating many ideas and suggestions with some common patterns. We will keep carefully analysing these responses to fully understand how we can get the numbers on a downward trend.  Watch this space!

The question of how far we can go is challenging. Some suicide prevention advocates are used to arguing that we “must” reduce the numbers but thinking about how far we can reduce the numbers is a different proposition.

Indeed, some people take the view that “with the current state of the world, economic pressures, etc, it may not be possible to reduce the numbers of suicides and the numbers may even go up”.

However, others argue that “with the right actions being taken, we can significantly reduce the numbers of suicides, even potentially reducing the numbers by 50% or more on the basis that most suicides are preventable”.

And some think we can go further than this, including “moving towards zero”.

What do you think?

Of course, it depends on the timeframes we are considering. What scale of reduction in the number of suicides do you believe is possible in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?

Also we know the two key questions of ‘how’ and ‘how far’ are inevitably entwined. If you think you know which ‘hows’ (or combination of actions) will significantly reduce the numbers, that will shape your view on how far we can go, and how quickly.

The Jordan Legacy will keep asking these questions in our action research interviews and everyday conversations. It’s at the core of what we do and why The Jordan Legacy exists.

This article was produced, in collaboration, between The Jordan Legacy’s Paul Vittles and Steve Phillip.


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