The NSPA was formally constituted in September 2013 but originally evolved from the Call to Action for Suicide Prevention launched in July 2011.
A Call to Action
Suicide continues to be a major public health issue, with more than 4,000 people dying in England by suicide each year. Death by suicide is an individual tragedy, and also can have a devastating effect on families and communities.
Part of the difficulty of preventing suicide is that there are so many factors that can contribute to suicidal behaviour, and for this reason there is a need for a cross-sector approach. In order to reduce death by suicide, as well as reduce suicidal feelings and suicidal behaviour, we need collaboration, coordination and action from many stakeholders across all sectors.
For this reason Samaritans, with a grant award from the Department of Health, launched a ‘Call to Action for Suicide Prevention’ in July 2011. The launch event held in London was attended by (amongst others), former Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP and the Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, Professor Louis Appleby. The launch of the Call to Action coincided with the Government’s consultation on a new national outcomes strategy for suicide prevention in England, and recognised the need to join up the efforts from many organisations and agencies across sectors if we are to achieve a reduction in suicidal feelings and behaviour and deaths by suicide.
The Call to Action emphasised a co-ordinated approach from Government, public services, voluntary groups, the private sector and communities, in order to better support people at risk of suicide. It mobilised organisations from across sectors, identifying shared priorities and highlighting key areas for action.
Through a series of workshops and events, the Call to Action culminated in the development of the ‘Call to Action Declaration’, that was jointly launched with the Government’s new National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England. The launch took place on World Suicide Prevention Day, 10th September 2012, at a House of Commons reception hosted by the Minister of State for Care and Support Services, Norman Lamb MP.
Following successful collaboration between partners in the development and launch of the Call to Action Declaration, members confirmed they wanted to continue as a standing alliance of organisations, committed to reducing suicide and progressing the shared aims identified via the Call to Action.
This standing alliance is what is now the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.