LONDON: In wake of increasing number of suicide in Britain, the government has decided to appoint a dedicated minister for suicide prevention as part of a landmark effort by the Prime Minister Theresa May to tackle the UK’s mental health crisis.
The Prime Minister announced at the annual ‘state of the nation’ report on young people’s mental health and reveal Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price as the first-ever suicide prevention minister.
To mark World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, she also pledged a return to her fight to tackle “burning injustices” and hand the Samaritans £1.8m to remain a free 24-hour service for four years.
Doyle-Price will lead a taskforce of national and local government, self-harm charities, clinicians and those personally affected by suicide to drive forward a mental health strategy.
She will also ensure every local area has a suicide prevention plan in place, and look at how technology can be used to identify those most at risk. The PM will place particular focus on the mental health of young people.
Around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England and suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45, but most mental ill health can be identified by the age of 14.
The Government also announced:
- New mental health support teams to work in schools, with trainees to begin studying in January and join schools across England next year;
- The ‘state of the nation’ will be published on World Mental Health Day each year and highlight trends and track issues in young people’s mental well-being
- New tools to help schools measure students’ health, including their mental wellbeing
It comes after HuffPost UK produced in-depth reporting on Bristol University, where there were ten suspected suicides in the space of 18 months.
Speaking at a Downing Street reception, May said: “When I first became Prime Minister, I stood on the steps of Downing Street and pledged to fight the burning injustices in our society.
“There are few greater examples than the injustices facing those with mental health conditions. But together we can change that.We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence. We can prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives. And we can give the mental wellbeing of our children the priority it so profoundly deserves.”