Letters Paracetamol hepatoxicity

Urgent need for proactive leadership in local suicide prevention plans

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1529 (Published 13 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1529
  1. Woody Caan, editor, Journal of Public Mental Health1
  1. 1Duxford CB22 4PA, UK
  1. wcaan{at}rsph.org.uk

Hawton and colleagues illustrate the value of wise national regulation (in this case, control over the dispensing of pills widely used for self poisoning).1 The present government abhors such national standards for health and now delegates mental health protection to individual councils within its localism agenda. Key professionals within the public health workforce are in the process of moving from the NHS to local authorities. Local authorities already have statutory powers in key areas related to suicide: abuse and bullying in childhood, loss of employment within the local economy, hazardous drinking, public transport safety, and homelessness.

A recent report on the inadequacy and inequality of local suicide prevention plans often uses the word “leadership.”2 This year 152 directors of public health become responsible for health leadership in English councils. Some will inherit good suicide prevention plans and enthusiastic local champions, but for many there is an urgent need for proactive leadership. Ensuring good quality health intelligence and identifying local community assets just might help these directors begin leading in the right direction.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1529


  • Competing interests: WC is public health adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention.