To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the number of suicides involving (a) Secondary School, (b) Further Education and (c) Higher Education students; what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the incidence of suicides in education settings; and what steps his Department is taking on suicide prevention in education settings.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
24 November 2020
Departmental officials are in regular contact with counterparts at the Department for Education.
We have made no assessment of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on incidences of suicides in educational settings. To help us get access to quicker data on suicide numbers, Public Health England is piloting a national surveillance system to monitor suspected suicide and self-harm, by collecting near real-time data from local systems. This will allow us to identify patters of risk and inform national and local responses. In November, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health research group published a report which used real-time data to compare the average number of suicides pre- and -post-lockdown. The researchers found no evidence of a significant rise in suicides post-lockdown in a population of nine million people. This does not identify which suspected suicides took place in an educational setting.
We remain committed to supporting children and young people’s mental health and implementing the core proposals of our Green Paper on improving children and young people’s mental health provision. Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme is providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and access to resources they need to support children and young people, teachers and parents.