Highways England has published a new strategy outlining its approach to improve the safety of its roads by reducing the number of people who attempt suicide.
Published on 27 November, the Suicide Prevention Strategy also highlights the role Highways England can play in supporting a wider community-based approach to suicide prevention.
Highways England says its approach focuses on ‘multi-agency working’ that will allow the Government agency ‘to make a real difference to reduce the numbers of suicides on our network’.
The strategy is centered around a number of key principles which Highways England says will help achieve its vision that no one attempts to take their life on its roads. These are:
• Prevention: to reduce the number of people who reach a point in their lives where they wish to take their own life.
• Crisis intervention: to intervene with those who do reach a crisis point to reduce the number of people who attempt suicide.
• Postvention: to reduce the impact of a suicide or attempted suicide among the public, and addressing the trauma experienced by Highways England employees, its supply chain and any witnesses to the event.
Highways England says it will also engage with charities and local suicide prevention groups such as Samaritans, local authorities, other infrastructure operators including Network Rail, academics and the police.
To measure progress against the new strategy, Highways England will establish a Suicide Prevention Working Group which will produce an annual report which will include best practice examples.
The new Highways England strategy follows a one-day conference, which took place on 19 October and was the first UK event to focus exclusively on preventing suicides on the UK road network.
Organised by PACTS, the event was supported by Highways England – with Tim Holland, Highways England’s suicide prevention policy lead, one of the speakers at the conference.