Statement on Deputy Prime Minister's Zero Suicide Policy

Joe Ferns, Executive Director of Policy, Research and Development, Samaritans said: “Samaritans welcomes the Deputy Prime Minister’s commitment today to make suicide prevention the priority it should be. We are passionate about the need to reduce stigma and welcome the aspiration to treat mental and physical health as equally important – and want to see this ambition translated into action.

“Providing proper resources to tackle this issue, including acknowledging the importance of having someone to talk to for people who are struggling, is crucial. Samaritans encourages people to seek help early to try and prevent their feelings and problems becoming overwhelming.

“Too often services lack the funding required, meaning that not everyone has easy and quick access to high quality mental health services when they need it most. There are huge variations in suicide rates around the country and it is those areas suffering the most socio-economic deprivation which have the highest rates, which need tackling urgently.

 “Today’s announcement recognises that people need the right mix of services so that they do not fall through the cracks in the system and have access to appropriate support, including talking therapies and crisis care. Samaritans is available round the clock, every day of the year to support people who are finding it hard to cope.

 “Samaritans also supports sharing best practice on suicide prevention to improve outcomes, as evidenced by our existing partnerships between our branches, the NHS, and the police around the UK and Ireland.”