King, E. and Frost, N.
The New Forest Suicide Prevention Initiative (NFSPI)
Crisis, 26, (1), .
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A retrospective suicide study revealed that the Forestry Commission car parks in the New Forest in southern England were a previously unrecognized magnet for nonlocal suicides, attracting as high a proportion of "visitors" (35/43 in 1993-97) as among suicides who jumped from the cliffs at the infamous Beachy Head (39/48 in 1993-97). Over 95% of the car park suicides died from car exhaust gas poisoning. A multiagency initiative aimed to reduce the number of suicides in the 140 New Forest car parks where restricting access was impossible, and environmental issues paramount. Signs displaying the Samaritans' national telephone number were erected in the 26 car parks in which 50% of the car park suicides had occurred. Numbers, location, and residence of all car park deaths were monitored for 3 years. Corresponding changes in other forest registration districts were also monitored. During the 3-year intervention period the number of car park suicides fell significantly from 10/year, 1988-1997, to 3.3/year. The average annual total number of suicides in the New Forest registration district also decreased. No significant changes were found in comparable forest districts. The number of suicides in the New Forest car parks remained low during the 2 years following the evaluation.
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