Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2021). 43(2):77-82. SIEC No: 20220293

Working to influence government policy on suicide prevention in the United Kingdom usually means working with the government Department of Health and Social Care around the cross-government suicide prevention strategy in England, and likewise in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Rarely does an opportunity come along that involves influencing legislation, but this is what is happening now. In the age of increasing digital innovation and communication, the conservative party made a commitment in its manifesto to make the United Kingdom the safest place in the world to be online while defending freedom of expression (Conservative and Unionist Party, 2019). The government has been consulting on how to do this since April 2019 (HM Government, 2019), with consultation responses published in February 2020 and December 2020 (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, [DCMS], 2020). The result is the Draft Online Safety Bill 2021 (DCMS, 2021), which was published in May 2021 and outlines a new regulatory framework for tackling harmful content online. The Draft Bill is due to go through the UK parliament in 2022, but even once it is passed into law, there will need to be a series of codes of practice (guidance provided by the regulator who enforces the provisions of the Bill), which give more detail on what content is covered and what types of action are expected from online services. The big question for self-harm and suicide prevention is whether this new legislation poses a challenge or an opportunity.