Samaritans welcomes the Government’s announcement today to help ensure more people have access to mental health support in response to the coronavirus pandemic
"The profound and devastating impact of the pandemic on the nation’s mental health has been clear to see. With the prolonged isolation and ongoing uncertainty, we know that many people have been struggling during these very challenging times.
"Samaritans therefore welcomes the Government’s announcement today to help ensure more people have access to mental health support in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a step in the right direction and suicide prevention must form a central part of government plans around mental health and wellbeing.
"As reported earlier in the week, we understand that there will be an investment in a real-time monitoring system for suspected suicides, a crucial resource that Samaritans has long called for and that will support localised suicide prevention efforts in a timely manner. This new funding must result in a comprehensive system that will allow us to monitor and respond to any increases in suicide rates within a particular area or group across the country.
"For too long specialist mental health services for young people have been overstretched and we know from our own research that people who self-harm struggle to access the support they need and are ping-ponged between services. The Government must ensure that the funding announced today results in more young people being supported and much earlier on, before they reach crisis point.
"Samaritans would also like to see increased support for middle aged men as part of the mental health recovery plans. Middle aged men have been the group most at risk of suicide in England for decades and we know that they are likely to face acute pressures in the coming months with any forthcoming financial downturn.
"As we continue to face the challenges of the pandemic, it is essential that we look after our own mental health and others by continuing to check in on anyone who may be struggling and encourage them to reach out for support whether it’s with a friend, family member or a confidential helpline like Samaritans. Our volunteers are always there to listen and they won’t judge or tell you what to do. Call for free on 116 123, email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org."
Julie Bentley, Samaritans CEO