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Wed, 8 April 2020

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Mind welcome the appointment of a new Minister for Suicide Prevention

Paul Farmer CBE | Mind

2 min read Member content

Please find below Mind’s comment in response to the appointment of the new Minister for Suicide Prevention.


We welcome the appointment of a new Minister for Suicide Prevention. We lose almost 4,500 people in England a year to suicide and, although not all are mental health related, many are, and every one is a tragedy. By introducing this role, the Government appears to be upholding its commitment to transform our over-stretched mental health services, as a key part of the picture is making sure services can prevent people with mental health problems reaching crisis point. The new minister will need do all they can to make sure people at risk of suicide are able to access the services they need, when they need them, which includes marked improvements to patient safety, both during and after a hospital stay. We’re soon expecting a new long term plan for the NHS, which will set out how services will improve over the coming years.

But it’s not just about mental health services, because the reasons for suicide are many and complicated. Life can be challenging and living with a mental health problem can make the ups and downs of day-to-day life that much harder to manage. Mind found that half of people with mental health problems have thought about or attempted suicide as a result of social issues such as housing issues, finances, benefit support, and employment. We need a benefits system that doesn't drive people into poverty, support for employers to make sure they are looking after their workforces, access to housing that is fit for people to live in comfortably, and health and social care services that prevent people becoming unwell in the first place. It’s paramount that the government takes these issues into account and makes sure people get the right support to deal with difficult circumstances in life, reducing the chance of people of taking their own lives.

Having a minister who can work across government departments is crucial in tackling the complicated issue of suicide. For the minister to really bring about positive change, any work by the minister and her taskforce must be done hand-in-hand with people who have direct experience of suicide.

The Samaritans provide a free, confidential, 24-hour phone support available by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.

For information, support and advice please visit our website at www.mind.org.uk or call Mind’s Infoline on 0300 123 3393 (lines open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 6.00pm).

Read the most recent article written by Paul Farmer CBE - Mind responds to Spring Budget 2020

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