Suicide prevention action plan drafted

The plan will come into effect in July
Health: The health ministry has drafted an action plan for a suicide prevent program, following directives from the government.
The draft action plan, which comprises of six major objectives, was opened for discussion and feedback from various stakeholders yesterday in Thimphu.
Some of the major objectives of the plan include – improving leadership, multispectral engagement and partnership for suicide prevention in the communities, strengthening governance and institutional arrangements to effectively implement comprehensive suicide plans and need for improvement of access to suicide prevention services and support for individuals in suicidal crisis.
Capacity improvement of health services and gatekeepers, improvement of community resilience and societal support and improvement of data, evidence and information for suicide prevention planning and programming were also objectives on the plan.
While the action plan was drafted, relevant organisations including religious bodies, members of parliament, Local Government leaders, community, and media, among others were consulted.
According to the draft action plan, a suicide prevention board would be formed with members comprising the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), health ministry, NGOs, forensic department of the University of Medical Science, central monastic body and a suicide survivor or a family member of a suicide victim.
Establishment of a suicide prevention unit at the RBP’s special division is also in the action plan.
The strategies would, however, be implemented phase wise. Priority activities have been identified in order to make the most of limited resources, including staff and funding, states the draft action plan.
“Care has been taken to identify the greatest opportunities for immediate action based on existing programme or on those that can be adapted,” the draft states. “This action plan is not aspirational document but an actual deliverable national work plan.”
At the consultative meeting, yesterday, participants were asked to rate the proposed plans specified under each objectives between 1-10 points. The rating was on the plan’s effectiveness, costing, and its benefit to public health, feasibility and cultural acceptance.
The action plan will be implemented for three years starting this July. An implementation evaluation will be conducted at the end of the project. Based on the experience, the next phase of the action will be planned.
Nirmala Pokhrel

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