Samaritans’ response to the House of Commons Health Select Committee Suicide Prevention Report

“This report reflects the breadth and urgency of the issue of suicide facing us all as a society. We hope that it will provide both the political and society-wide impetus needed to act quickly to save lives. Samaritans will continue campaigning for a society where anyone experiencing suicidal feelings, or worried about someone else, knows how to access effective, high quality support, offered by well-trained and resourced people and services.

Every ninety minutes, someone in England takes their own life leaving families, workplaces and communities devastated. Samaritans believes suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable and today’s report reflects our view and includes a range of recommendations that we believe, if implemented, will help to save lives.

“Improving training for GPs and medical students to assess suicide risk as well as depression, and ensuring health workers receive ongoing training in this area is a positive step. MPs have echoed our campaign to ensure that every local area has an effective suicide prevention plan, where both the planning and the actions to reduce suicide are subject to scrutiny.

“We are pleased that our work with the media to ensure that the portrayal and coverage of suicide and attempted suicide is responsible has been acknowledged. We know that strengthening media codes of practice in this area will mean fewer people are put at risk because of irresponsible content. We look forward to continuing to work with the industry to raise awareness and achieve this.

“Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide and it is imperative that funds and resources reach the front line and are targeted at those most at risk. We highlighted in our evidence to the committee that additional funds proposed for suicide prevention are too little, too late and in the wrong place to achieve the Government’s target of a 10 percent reduction in suicides and to implement its suicide prevention strategy.

“Three times more people die by suicide each year than through road accidents. Suicide is also an inequality issue, as our report Dying from Inequality released last week reflects. If you are middle-aged, male and from the poorest areas, you are ten times more likely to take your own life than if you are from the wealthiest."

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland

For further comments, interviews and more information, please contact press@samaritans.org or 020 8394 8300 or 07943 809 162

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Notes to Editors