Inequality, driving people to suicide
As Samaritans releases a report ahead of Wednesday’s Budget linking inequality with a higher risk of suicide, the charity is calling on the government, businesses, industry and sector leaders to be aware of the risks of suicide and to direct support to those with unstable employment, insecure housing, low income or in areas of socioeconomic deprivation.
The report, Dying from Inequality, is far-reaching and highlights clear areas of risk to communities and individuals, including the closure and downsizing of businesses, those in manual, low-skilled employment, those facing unmanageable debt and those with poor housing conditions.
Samaritans’ CEO Ruth Sutherland said, “Suicide is an inequality issue that we have known about for some time, this report says that’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s got to change. Most importantly this report sets out, for the first time, what needs to happen to save lives. Addressing inequality would remove the barriers to help and support where they are needed most and reduce the need for that support in the first place. Government, public services, employers, service providers, communities, family and friends all have a role in making sure help is relevant and accessible when it matters most.
“Everyone can feel overwhelmed at times in their life. People at risk of suicide may have employers, or they may seek help at job centres, or go to their GP. They may come into contact with national and local government agencies, perhaps on a daily basis. So, in the light of this report we are asking key people and organisations from across society, for example those working in housing, in businesses, medical staff, job centre managers, to all take action to make sure their service, their organisation, their community is doing all it can to promote mental health and prevent the tragedy of suicide.”
Samaritans has already started addressing the inequalities driving people to suicide, by making its helpline number free to call, by calling on Government for more frontline staff to be trained in suicide prevention in England and by campaigning for local authorities to have effective suicide prevention plans in place. Now, in response to the findings of this report, the next steps will involve instigating working groups, in different sectors, bringing together businesses and charities who can influence in the areas highlighted, in order to tackle this issue in a collaborative, systematic and effective way to ensure that fewer people die by suicide.
Ruth Sutherland continued: “Each suicide statistic is a person. The employee on a zero hour’s contract is somebody’s parent or child. A person at risk of losing their home may be a sibling or a friend. And each one of them will leave others devastated, and potentially more disadvantaged too, if they take their own life. This is a call for us as individuals to care more and for organisations that can make a difference, to do so.”
For further info, spokespeople, case studies, photos and embargoed copies of the report, contact Samaritans’ press office on 020 8394 8300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors:
- Dying from Inequality: Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Suicidal Behaviour is available publicly online from 00:01 March 6th 2017 via http://www.samaritans.org/dying-from-inequality
- ‘Dying from Inequality’: Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Suicidal Behaviour, brings together for the first time, the research and recommendations from leading experts in health economics, social policy, psychology, and suicide prevention.
- The full report will be launched on Friday 10th March 2017 - return to samaritans.org for the full version.
- The research and publication of this report was funded by The Pears Foundation, helping Samaritans have a greater understanding of why people living in deprivation are at a higher risk of suicide than those who live in more affluent areas and how we can best address this.
- The eight commissioned experts who authored the report are: Professor Clare Bambra, Public Health, Newcastle University, Dr Joanne Cairns, Public Health, Newcastle University, Dr Amy Chandler, Sociology, University of Edinburgh, Dr Elke Heins, Social Policy, University of Edinburgh, Dr Olivia Kirtley, Health Psychology, University of Glasgow; University of Ghent, Associate Professor David McDaid, Health Economics, London School of Economics, Professor Rory O’Connor, Health Psychology, University of Glasgow, Dr Katherine Smith, Social Policy, University of Edinburgh. The report was co-edited by Stephen Platt, Emeritus Professor of Health Policy Research, University of Edinburgh, Dr Stephanie Stace, Samaritans and Jacqui Morrissey, Samaritans.
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