A NATIONAL monitoring system to help people affected by suicide get support faster is being set up in Wales.

Called real time suicide surveillance, the scheme was announced last week by the Welsh Government, and will work in partnership with Public Health Wales, all Welsh police forces and the NHS across Wales.

The intention is that the programme will ensure support will be available for affected communities and individuals.

Why isn't suicide support for loved ones available more quickly? 

The Welsh Government has said research shows every person who dies by suicide leads to up to 135 other people needing varying degrees of support.

This system is seen as necessary because after an unexpected death, there is often a lengthy delay before the death can be declared a suicide following a coroner's inquest.

Because of this delay, it is difficult to develop to provide support or develop an immediate response that may help prevent other suicides.

The programme will provide information on suspected suicides without the lengthy delay so that immediate support is available.

How does  Real Time Suicide Surveillance work?

It works by collecting information on suspected suicides in order to support services that develop preventative measures as well as helping to improve the knowledge on self harm and suicide.

Deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing Lynne Neagle said: "The loss of someone to suicide is devastating for family, friends and whole communities. Preventing suicide is a major priority for me and establishing the real time suicide surveillance system provides a platform to strengthen our suicide prevention work.

"Vitally it will also enable us to provide timely support for those bereaved by suicide, who we know are at much higher risk of dying by suicide." 

She added that the scheme was part of the Welsh Government's 'Talk to me 2' suicide and self-harm prevention strategy and that she would be targeting increased investment in 2022/23 to suicide and self-harm prevention.

The scheme is part of a £50m investment from the Welsh Government to improve mental health and well-being.


Policing lead for mental health in Wales, assistant chief constable Dave Thorne said: "Each tragic case of suicide is a life lost and it should be a constant reminder for us all, that we must work together to ensure that prevention remains a priority. 

"Each and every loss of life through suicide leaves a legacy of bereft loved ones, families, friends and communities

"The launch of the system, the first of its kind in Wales, is a great achievement whereby multi-agency surveillance data will be available on a shared platform, enhancing our collaborative response. 

"It will undoubtedly unlock cases to enable the right services to be put in place to prevent further loss of life, and support the wider commitment of Welsh Government."

Dr Rosalind Reilly, consultant in public health for Public Health Wales, said: "Public Health Wales has worked with a range of partners across the system to develop the RTSS system, a new initiative which will deliver data and insights to enable support to be delivered appropriately, and to build real understanding of the issues and challenges involved in this difficult area."

If you are considering taking your own life, or know someone who may be, you can talk to the Samaritans Cyrmu in confidence by calling 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. Email replies can take 24 hours.