Government needs to take action on suicide to stop preventable deaths, says Samaritans

A report from the Health Select Committee on suicide prevention released today (19th December) has confirmed that over the past four years there has been a failure to translate the Government's National Suicide Prevention Strategy into actual improvements in suicide prevention. 

Since the Government published its strategy in 2012 more than 14,400 people have died by suicide in England. Samaritans is calling for immediate tangible action funded by a ring-fenced pot of money.

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said,  "People are continuing to die and suicide prevention is still not being prioritised. Every six seconds someone contacts  Samaritans for help. Suicide is not inevitable it's preventable. This report should serve as a wake-up call to the Government and we are delighted that our request for a clear implementation programme has been included in this report."

“We want the £25m the Government has promised towards suicide prevention to be an untouchable pot of money given to local authorities. We need to see clear, effective suicide prevention plans in every local authority and absolute accountability for all activities in this area of work.”

Samaritans, which gave evidence to the Committee, has called suicide a public health crisis. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, and of young people aged 20-34.

The Government is expected to publish an update of its national strategy in January and Samaritans is urging them to take into account the Committee's full recommendations, in order to tackle the rising number of deaths by suicide. As the report says, 'the scale of the avoidable loss of life from suicide is unacceptable"

For further information, spokespeople and case studies, please contact Samaritans’ press office on 020 8394 8300 or

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Notes to editors:

  • House of Commons, Health Committee Suicide prevention interim report is published 19th December 00:01
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