Voters get MPs-in-waiting to join Samaritans’ campaign to make suicide prevention a priority

Voters get MPs-in-waiting to join Samaritans’ campaign to make suicide prevention a priority

Voters have been asking MPs standing for election to sign up to Samaritans’ campaign to make effective suicide prevention a priority in every part of the UK.

Since the beginning of May, voters have been contacting candidates and asked them to prioritise effective suicide prevention in England and Wales. Around 150 have signed up to support Samaritans’ campaign.

Samaritans’ campaigners are asking prospective MPs to:

  • Help save lives locally by promoting sources of emotional support
  • Raise issues affecting the wellbeing of their constituents in Parliament
  • Work with the local authority to make sure people get support before they reach a crisis point, especially people at high risk, such as those bereaved by suicide and middle-aged men
  • Raise the issue of making more effective crisis support available: for example, after suicide and self-harm attempts.

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “We need to make sure that all areas have good suicide prevention plans in place – they can make a difference by encouraging suicide prevention organisations to work together to tailor prevention measures to reduce risk locally.

“However, we also need to make sure MPs are involved and they can provide a bridge between local action and involving the Government to bring about real change.

“More than 6,000 people die by suicide in the UK annually. It is the biggest killer of men under 50 and young people aged 20-34. It’s everybody’s business to bring these numbers down.”

The Government has told all councils in England and Wales that they should have effective suicide prevention plans in place by the end of this year.

At the start of Samaritans’ Local Action Saves Lives campaign in October, only two thirds of local authorities had suicide prevention plans in place, and that has now increased so that 95 per cent either have a plan or are developing one.

Many of Samaritans’ 201 branches are represented on local suicide prevention groups, where they advise local councils, drawing on Samaritans’ 60 years of experience working to reduce suicide.

Samaritans hosts the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, which has nearly 100 member organisations, and advises the Government about suicide prevention. Samaritans is also working with Public Health England to put on a series of masterclasses for local authorities to help them get the most out of their local suicide prevention plans.

For further information, please contact Samaritans’ press office on 020 8394 8300 or press@samaritans.org.

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Notes to editors:

  • You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans. You can call us free anytime from any phone,  on 116 123, via email on jo@samaritans.org  or go to www.samaritans.org for details of your latest branch