WMS 2 – Suicide Prevention Update

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Statement made by Maria Caulfield, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy)

Every suicide is a tragedy with devasting impacts on individuals, loved ones and communities. Today we are publishing a new National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England, which refreshes the national strategy for England that was published in 2012.

The strategy considers the latest evidence collected through our Mental Health Call for Evidence and discussions with experts, including those who have experienced the suicide of a loved one, academics, those who work within suicide prevention and the Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group.

I am incredibly grateful to everybody who took the time to provide feedback to ensure that the new strategy reflects the most pressing challenges and opportunities.

The result is a new cross-government and cross-sector strategy for the next five years, with a core message that suicide prevention is everybody’s business. Over the next five years, we intend to reduce the suicide rate – with initial reductions in half this time. The strategy also sets out measures to improve support for people who have self-harmed and those bereaved by suicide.

Together, this strategy lays out over 100 concrete actions across national government departments, the NHS, local government, employers, the voluntary sector and many others. It includes new priority areas of action, such as improving online safety, addressing the links between suicide and factors such as gambling and domestic abuse, and combatting different methods of suicide.

We have already provided funding to improve access to crisis support and support the voluntary sector to deliver suicide prevention activity including:

  • £10 million from 2023 to 2025 to support non-profit organisations to meet the increased demand seen in recent years and support a range of diverse and innovative activity that can prevent suicides, including targeting groups of concern identified in this strategy.
  • Over £2.3 billion more a year for mental health services by March 2024 compared to 2018/19with £57 million specifically for suicide prevention and suicide bereavement services.
  • £150 million capital investment made available to urgent and emergency care mental health pathways, including mental health ambulances, crisis cafés, children and young people’s places of safety and new mental health assessment spaces.

We will continue to review progress and update actions to prevent as many suicides as possible. I look forward to continuing to work with members of this House, the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory group and colleagues across the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector to deliver on our ambition to reduce suicides.

I will deposit a copy of the Strategy in the libraries of both houses.

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