Samaritans welcomes the appointment of Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

Samaritans in Wales would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mark Drakeford AM on his appointment as the Minister for Health and Social Services.

Wales’ first Suicide Reduction strategy was launched by Edwina Hart AM in 2009 and widely welcomed across the NHS, social services and voluntary sector.   However since 2010 we have seen a number of key social and economic factors worsen for many people including rises in unemployment and homelessness.  Throughout this period worrying rises in both the rate of suicide and the actual number of people taking their own lives in Wales have also been recorded.  There is an important on-going role for Welsh Government in doing all it can to reduce rates of suicide in Wales.  We need to continue to build public awareness of organisations which provide support and continue to reduce stigma around suicide and mental illness (visit the Time to change Wales website for more information).  And increasingly we need to explore why suicide in Wales is increasingly an issue about disadvantaged men (click here to download Samaritans’ report on men and suicide).

The new Minister ably demonstrated his commitment to reducing suicide in Wales when he spoke on the panel of Samaritans’ ‘Men, Suicide and Society’ Conference in November 2012 and we look forward to working closely with him again in the development of a new suicide and self-harm reduction strategy from 2014 onwards.