UK government to tackle suicide with predictive AI

The UK government today published its first suicide prevention plan, with a focus on the use of social media and predictive analytics to identify those most at risk of suicide.

The National Health Service (NHS) set out an ambition to reduce the number of suicides in England by 10 per cent by 2020, and it has reaffirmed its commitment to achieving this. Further, the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, put an emphasis on suicide prevention over the next decade. Data published by the Office for National Statistics shows that the suicide rate has reduced for the past three years and is at its lowest in seven years. 

This new, cross-government plan is sets out initiatives across local authorities, the NHS, the criminal justice system, as well as specific plans to address data collection at local and national level, and harnessing technology to identify those most at risk of suicide and self-harm.

The implementation of the plan will be overseen by Jackie Doyle-Price, the Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. She said: "I will be working with local councils, the NHS and the justice system to make sure suicide prevention plans are put in place across public services."