Suicide kills three times more people than road traffic accidents, we urgently need to act

Samaritans today welcomes the government’s focus on improved mental health services and strengthened suicide prevention work but wants today’s announcements to result in lives saved.

Ruth Sutherland, Samaritans’ CEO, said, “Suicide kills three times more people than road traffic accidents. Action has been taken on road deaths since the sixties. We need to be giving suicide the same priority. The Prime Ministers' ‘new approach’ needs to have a significant impact on the numbers of people dying by suicide."

Echoing Samaritans’ call for suicide to become everybody’s business in her plans for a ‘shared society’, the Prime Minister, in a speech at the Charity Commission, emphasised the need for employers, parents, teachers and communities to work together to end the stigma surrounding mental ill health.

The NHS survey of mental health & wellbeing revealed that 1 in 5 people had experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings. Samaritans is calling for the government strategy to help equip everybody to be able to identify when they, or someone else is struggling to cope, know how to respond and know that relevant support is available.

“Suicide is preventable and everybody’s business. We need concerted action locally and nationally with strong effective plans in place that mean that individuals who are struggling to cope and their families can be properly supported.

"If you are a parent concerned about your child, a teacher trying to support a pupil, or someone at work worried about a colleague, you need information about what to do and where to get help, and to be confident that the right help will be there for as long as it is needed.

“Samaritans is in a unique position to gauge the health of the nation, because we respond to more than 5million calls for help a year. We will hold the Government to account – words mean nothing without concrete plans and proper resources and support in place to follow through."

Notes to editors:

  • You don’t have to be suicidal to call us. Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email, or visit to find details of your nearest branch.
  • It’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean Samaritans is always there for anyone struggling to cope.  Find out how you can support us:


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