Prison officer boost welcome, but don't forget mental health, says Samaritans

Samaritans is disappointed that no mention has been made of funding for mental health in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. 

According to the King’s Fund, public health budgets are expected to be cut by £600m in real terms by 2020/21 and we are concerned about the impact of this on the ability of local authorities to deliver effective local suicide prevention.

Samaritans’ Local Action Saves Lives campaign, launched last month, is highlighting the need for all local authorities to put effective suicide prevention plans in place.

Samaritans welcomes plans to recruit 2,500 extra prison officers as it could help stem the rising numbers of suicides in the UK’s jails.

Samaritans’ Prison Listener scheme operates in 138 prisons with support from 117 branches. Volunteers train prisoners to provide peer support, as they are at greater risk of suicide than people outside.