British Medical Association (BMA)

We are the trade union and professional body for doctors and medical students in the UK.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

We represent public health doctors, psychiatrists, and GPs, amongst other medical professionals most likely to be working to prevent suicide in their patients and the population.

We also represent and support those doctors who might have suicidal feelings themselves, and campaign to tackle those issues which may have contributed to the suicide of doctors (e.g., over-work, lack of mental health support in the NHS, and the overrepresentation of black and ethnic minority doctors referred for investigation by the General Medical Council).

What are your current priorities?

The BMA works on a range of topics that affect healthcare, and our Board of Science committee have chosen suicide prevention as one of their policy priorities for the year. Within this, we want to support medical professionals to aid suicide prevention where they work locally, and nationally. We also campaign on cuts to the the public health budget, including the mental health budget, to be reversed.

What challenges are you currently facing?

The main challenge we face is that we do not have the adequate GP and psychiatric workforce to provide people with mental health care, and we do not have the public health workforce to clinically advise on public health interventions such as suicide prevention.