“It’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s got to change”

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland on socioeconomic disadvantage and suicide

Suicide is killing the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the UK, says Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland, launching the full report Dying From Inequality today.

“It’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s got to change, now is the time to create an agenda and deliver the change we need,” said Ruth, opening the discussion at the Cavendish Centre in central London.

Suicide prevention experts, including practitioners and academics, came together to debate the findings of the report.

“Over my 35-year career there has not been any change in health inequalities if anything they have got worse,” said Ruth. “We have a lot to do in terms of harnessing the political will to bring about change.

“There has been a lack of understanding of why people in areas of socioeconomic deprivation are more at risk. Now with this research, we can understand the connection and make the case for change and save lives,” Ruth added.

The aim is for the sector to work together with agencies and the Governments to find effective solutions.

Samaritans campaigned successfully to make all calls to the helpline free to callers, as cost was found to be a barrier to people reaching out.

Elena Di Antonio, of Ipsos Mori, who ran the campaign research, said that for people in the most at-risk groups, not being judged and being listened to were key to them asking for support if they were struggling.

Professor Steve Platt, who co-edited the report, spoke about features of socioeconomic deprivation such as unemployment and recession which have an influence on suicide, particularly male deaths.

“There is something particularly noxious about being an individual in a situation of deprivation in a deprived area which massively increases suicide risk,” he said.

Governments need to place a stronger emphasis on suicide prevention as an inequality issue, he added.

The report recommends measures such as targeting resources in the most deprived areas, cross-Government working, better workplace training and support, and destigmatising poverty and debt so that people can access effective support.

For further information, please contact Samaritans Press team on 0208 394 8348/out of hours 07943 809162 or email press@samaritans.org

Notes for 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
  • #DyingFromInequality
  • ‘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 report will be officially launched on Friday 10th March 2017 in Central London.
  • 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 nine  academics: Professor Clare Bambra, public health, Newcastle University; Dr Joanne-Marie Cairns, Durham University; Professor Steve Platt (EDITOR); 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.
  • Stephen Platt, Emeritus Professor of Health Policy Research, University of Edinburgh was a co-editor of the report.