Ahead of the Autumn Statement, Samaritans sends a message to The Chancellor that it only takes a handful of small change from the Treasury to make a big change to suicide rates
Samaritans is today (Wednesday 15th November) sending a message to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt that it will only take a handful of small change from the Treasury to make a big change to suicide rates.
Chief Executive Julie Bentley was joined in Parliament Square by supporters holding giant coins totaling £1.40, the cost per person to renew vital suicide prevention funding in England - less than the cost of a loaf of bread.
As it stands, cash for local suicide prevention initiatives is set to run out in four months' time. With one week to go before the Autumn Statement, Samaritans CEO Julie Bentley is reminding the Chancellor that it’s not too late to deliver the financial boost needed to continue the life-saving work happening in communities across the country.
Julie Bentley said: “Millions of pounds have been invested in reducing smoking rates because it saves lives and cutting suicide rates should be no different. The Government has just increased funding for local anti-smoking services to £140m and we’re asking Jeremy Hunt for barely half that amount, the equivalent of £1.40 for every person in England, to be put into community suicide prevention. It’s small change for the Treasury but it will make a big change to people’s lives.”
One example of where local funding has benefitted the community is Surrey – the Chancellor’s own constituency.
Mark Nuti, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Public Health Surrey County Council, added: “This local funding has helped us use knowledge and understanding of our own community to most effectively prevent suicide in the area. For example, we knew we needed to support intervention opportunities for young people and it’s only due to this funding that we were able to fund youth workers for young people who are struggling with self-harm or feeling suicidal. Renewing this funding is therefore crucial to help us continue saving lives in Surrey.”
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Thanks to funding provided as part of the NHS long term plan, local authorities and their partners have been able to provide crucial suicide prevention training, information and services to help people in need.
“We are calling on government to extend or replace this funding to ensure councils are able to continue and expand upon this incredibly important work.”
Last month, Samaritans' open letter to Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP was backed by more than 20 other suicide prevention and mental health charities, highlighting sector-wide support for the call to renew local suicide prevention funding in England. Samaritans awaits the Treasury’s response next Wednesday.
For more information, visit Saving Lives Can’t Wait.
Photos will be available on the day from Samaritans’ press office. For media enquiries, please contact: [email protected]
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