DORSET’S Suicide Prevention Plan is still ‘in review’, despite a government website claiming it ‘exists’ the Daily Echo has discovered.

After requesting a copy of the plan, which Public Heath England clearly states is in existence, the Daily Echo was told by a spokesman for Dorset County Council that: “It is currently being reviewed by local partners and will be published when feedback has been received and considered.”

The spokesman continued: “The national Public Health England Healthier Lives website is due to be updated by the end of January to include the results of a recent national survey of suicide prevention plans. We have contributed to this survey and expect that our position will be updated on this national website to reflect the status of our plan.”

The Daily Echo understands the partners to the review ‘would expect to be able to publish the final version during Q1 of 2018’, or around the end of March.

However, with around one person a week taking their own life in Dorset – 111 in two years (a figure which doesn’t include deaths of this nature in Bournemouth or Poole) - potentially eight more people could die before the plan is published.

Leading Dorset mental health campaigner Marianne Storey, CEO of Dorset Mind, welcomed news of the report’s proposed publication.

She said the newly-formed Dorset Mental Health Alliance had ‘positive things to suggest’ to help reduce the numbers of people dying by suicide and said it was hoped to initially cut deaths by ten per cent. “With this target five fewer people may die,” she said, adding that the DMHA would like to see that number reduced even more because: “We need to be more ambitious.”

With every death by suicide calculated to cost around £1.7 million – and this, of course, does not reflect the appalling human cost - the financial savings alone could prove significant.

Ms Storey said that getting all agencies involved to agree to a prevention plan was ‘a complicated process’ especially given that more than 70 per cent of those who die by suicide are not in touch with the NHS. “We would suggest that community organisations could play a big role in reducing that (death by suicide numbers),” she said.

Preventions could include more people joining in campaigns such as The Samaritan’s ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ initiative, which encourages train commuters to chat to help spot people feeling potentially suicidal. Or, she said: “It may be that people such as the police know of certain places where people have taken their own lives and preventions could be as simple as growing gorse bushes, putting up railings, or even a sign alerting people that they can call The Samaritans.”

*The Samaritans phone number 116 123 (free to call). Or email