BBC BLOGS - Betsan's Blog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Are you ok?

Betsan Powys | 10:39 UK time, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

It's not rocket science according to the Welsh Assembly Government's Director of Mental Health Development. Preventing suicide can simply be about asking 'are you ok?' and listening to the answer. It can, said Phill Chick, be about a whole lot more but at least you shouldn't be afraid to ask.

The suicide rate in Wales is less than that of Northern Ireland or Scotland but higher than England and higher than the UK average. This morning you'll perhaps have been listening as the Welsh Assembly Government spelled out their national strategy to reduce suicide and self-harm - the one they've come under the cosh for not having, the one they've now been persuaded by experience in Scotland in particular of having a national strategy, will "add value" to the various programmes and initiatives already in place.

The one that means they might now hit the target they set in 2002 to reduce suicide in Wales by 10 per cent by 2012? Their progress so far, it was admitted this morning, was "mixed". Having a coherent national strategy will, it's hoped, "help with that".

The national strategy that is now in place because of the cluster of suicides in the Bridgend area over the past year?

No matter how hard you've been listening to that answer, it's been tough to get a straight one.

There's been a willingness to say that the strategy launched today was informed by what happened in he Bridgend area and that it was even prompted by what happened there. This morning, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, gave us the answer we needed to report this fairly and properly. In his view this national strategy wouldn't have been launched today if it weren't for the fact that some 23 young people from the Bridgend area have apparently taken their own lives since the beginning of 2007.

Small comfort maybe for all of those so deeply affected by a single death, let alone that number of deaths. Small comfort but perhaps some comfort. And maybe that isn't rocket science either.


or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.