The government has published its suicide prevention strategy. Among other priorities, it discusses addressing common risk factors linked to suicide at a population level by providing early intervention and tailored support.
These are: alcohol and drug use; physical illness; financial difficulty and economic adversity; gambling; social isolation and loneliness; domestic abuse.
The strategy states that:
Addressing alcohol and drug use may be especially important for supporting particular groups. In a study of middle-aged men that died by suicide in 2017, 49% had experienced alcohol misuse, drug misuse or both, particularly where individuals were unemployed, bereaved or had a history of self-harm or violence. Among people in contact with mental health services in England who died by suicide between 2010 and 2020, there were high proportions of both alcohol misuse (45%) and drug misuse (35%).
More specifically on alcohol, the strategy discusses the importance of “reducing excessive alcohol consumption at a population level”, mentioning the reform of alcohol duty as a way to “target problem drinking” by taxing products by strength.