Reading about people committing suicide is never a pleasant thing and the latest Third progress report on the cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives which was recently published gives grim data on the rate and frequency of suicide incidents in the country. For example, suicide rates in England have increased since 2007, making suicide the biggest killer of men under 50 as well as a leading cause of death in young people and new mothers. On average, 13 people kill themselves every day in England. The death of someone by suicide has a devastating effect on families, friends, workplaces, schools and communities, as well as an economic cost. The Government is developing a range of interventions to reduce the rates people are committing suicide, some of which are; connecting national policy with local delivery to drive and monitor progress with partners and stakeholders; work to continue with the National suicide prevention strategy advisory group, providing financial support to National prevention alliance (NSPA); strengthening the National Strategy to drive delivery of its aims at a local level where it matters most to prevent further families, friends, colleagues and communities from experiencing the tragedy of suicide and increasing Government’s focus on young people in educational settings, including colleges and universities, to raise awareness of suicide risk and mental wellbeing.
So what has Sport or physical activity got to do with reducing the incidents of suicide in the country, well, the report recognises that sporting communities are an important way to engage with young and middle-aged men; there is evidence that engagement via this route can be successful (for example, State of Mind Sport and Andy’s Man Club). Government also plans to consider further engagement through the sporting community to build on the good work already taking place around the country to address these issues. Public Health England’s guidelines on suicide prevention planning for local authorities highlights that sporting initiatives may be an effective way of targeting young men and local areas may want to engage local sporting figures, or gym/fitness professionals to become suicide prevention champions. This recognition and acknowledgement of the role of sport and by extension physical activity strengthens our resolve at DR UK/Get Yourself Active to continue to campaign and advance the rights of disabled people to actively participate in sport and physical activities.
You can read the full report here