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9 March 2022

Suicide Prevention Consortium publishes report into the relationship between alcohol and suicide

Alongside our partners in the Suicide Prevention Consortium, With You has been exploring what the relationship between alcohol and suicide looks like for people living in England, in their own words.

The approach
Consortium members shared surveys with people who have lived experience of suicide, to understand more about their relationships with alcohol. We hope that by sharing their insights we can encourage the Westminster Government and healthcare services to make changes that will help people to be better supported.

Key findings:
- There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’. The best support people received acknowledged their personal circumstances and made them feel trusted and listened to. Unfortunately, many people did not receive this level of care.
- For many people, alcohol is part of a bigger picture. They described drinking alcohol as a way of coping with issues involving their mental health, trauma or suicidal thoughts.
- Some people who had attempted suicide were dismissed or judged by healthcare staff due to drinking alcohol.
- There’s a need for further exploration of people’s experiences of alcohol and suicide, so that voices of lived experience are at the centre of policymaking.

Key recommendations

1. We want to see further investment in alcohol and mental health services to increase their capacity and expertise.
2. We are calling on the people who are responsible for planning and funding healthcare services to explore how they can work together more closely, so that they can address the person rather than the ‘problem’.
3. We think that staff in all healthcare settings that might come into contact with people who have attempted suicide should receive training which covers the complex role that alcohol can play in suicide attempts, based on evidence from people with lived experience.
4. Further work with people who have lived experience is needed to develop our understanding so that help can come earlier, long before people reach a crisis point.

With You’s Robin Pollard and Sarah Marsay from the Samaritans discuss the report findings in this Insights from experience blog.

Click here for the summary and full report.