Samaritans’ Manifesto Sets Out Four-Point Plan To Reduce Suicides

The Government will be failing people who are struggling if it does not put more resources into preventing suicide and helping those most at risk, Samaritans says in its Manifesto, launched today.

Samaritans believes that to make meaningful progress towards reducing suicide, the following measures need to be implemented as a priority:

  • Mental and physical health should be treated as equally important
  • Alcohol misuse must be tackled
  • Every area should have a local suicide prevention plan
  • Samaritans’ helpline should be free to callers.

The Manifesto is asking the new Government which comes into power after the election on May 7 to implement measures to reduce suicides in the UK and Ireland, currently standing at more than 6,000 a year.

“Certain groups are more vulnerable to suicide and more resources need to be concentrated on trying to help them – male suicides are at their highest since 2001, and men are more than three times more likely than women to kill themselves,” said Samaritans’ Executive Director of Policy and Research, Joe Ferns.

“Research shows that social deprivation also plays a major part in suicide risk, and alcohol misuse, poverty, and unemployment are also factors,” said Joe. “The Government needs to show clearly that it considers mental and physical health as equally important.

“Suicide prevention plans, which make the most of resources, encourage the sharing of information and target support where it is most needed, should be rolled out across all communities. This is especially an issue in England where around 30 per cent of local authorities do not have them at the moment.” Joe added.

“We need to remove any barrier to people being able to get the help they need, when and where they need it. Samaritans is committed to making its telephone service free to everyone but we need the new government to join us in that commitment.” Joe added.

“Giving effective support to people who are vulnerable to suicide is crucial, especially as the latest figures have shown a rise, particularly amongst middle aged men,” said Professor Keith Hawton, of the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford University. “Anything that makes services more accessible, such as making the Samaritans’ helpline free to callers, is a step forward in reaching people who are struggling to cope and could make all the difference to them.”

Sign our petition asking the Government to help to make the helpline free to callers.

“The Government has an opportunity to make a real difference to  the lives of people at risk of suicide and Samaritans has set out four simple measures to achieve this, which we are hoping will be taken up across the country,” said Joe.

View our Manifesto online.

To join the debate on Twitter follow #supportfreecall
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the Samaritans’ Press Office on 020 8394 8300

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123, email, or visit to find details of the nearest branch.

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