The Isle of Man’s proposed ‘Suicide Prevention Strategy’ is ‘being worked on’, according to Chief Minister Alfred Cannan.

The strategy was passed unanimously during May’s Tynwald sitting last year, with a list of 20 aims covering personal, social, health and economic education in schools.

The ultimate aim of the prevention strategy is to reach ‘zero suicides’ on the island.

Douglas East MHK Joney Faragher initially presented the strategy to Tynwald, and during Tuesday’s House of Keys sitting, she asked the Chief Minister what progress had been made with it.

Mr Cannan responded: ‘Firstly, although this is the first island-wide Suicide Prevention Strategy, I believe it is worth emphasising that there are a lot of suicide prevention initiatives already in place in the island.

‘Manx schools deliver personal health, social health and economic education to help young children prepare for life’s crises, while there are a number of third party organisations who specialise in this prevention.

Public Health have been collecting data on suicide for more than 16 years, while we also recently did a “suicide audit” which has given us a lot of contextual detail in terms of the profile of suicides in the island.

‘The Council of Ministers has supported and endorsed the strategy, and we remain fully committed to it.

‘I am advised that important work is being done between government departments and Manx Care, with a focus on the best practice using local evidence.’

Ms Faragher went on to state that none of the objectives laid out in the initial action plan had yet been achieved, and asked the Chief Minister if the government were behind on the rolling out of the strategy.

Mr Cannan responded: ‘I think you can see from my first response that some of the actions have been met already.

‘What I would say to honourable members is that we’re committed to informing everyone as much as possible about our work, but this is of course a delicate matter. I am arranging for a presentation to be made regarding the work we have done, which is likely to take place later this month.’

In a further supplementary question, Ms Faragher enquired why there was not yet a ‘Suicide Rapid Response Outreach Team’ although Treasury had provided funding for this team for the last three years.

The Chief Minister claimed that it was still unsure when this team would be established, but that it would be in collaboration with the previously formed ‘Multi-Agency Suicide Prevention Group’ in 2020.