We need more than business as usual - Samaritans response to Health Select Committee Report on Suicide Prevention

As the Government publishes its response to the Health Select Committee Report on Suicide Prevention, Ruth Sutherland, Samaritans CEO, said: “We are disappointed that the Government has not been bolder in setting out its plan to deliver against the national suicide prevention strategy. The response includes lots of good intentions, but there is still much to be done to make it a reality.

Whilst we are pleased that the Government aims to set up a National Suicide Prevention Strategy Delivery Group, it’s critical that the role of the voluntary sector is recognised as a key delivery partner and therefore represented on this Group. We need a cross-sector work plan with clear targets that is properly resourced.

We remain concerned that:

  • the Government does not appear to have made a decision about how the £25m which has been earmarked for suicide prevention from April 2018 will be spent, and it is only 8 months away.
  • the quality assurance process needs to be properly funded and resourced to maximise its effectiveness.
  • there is no mention of an evaluation of the strategy. There needs to be an independent evaluation which enables us to understand the influence of national and local planning and funding, what was most effective and how the 10% target was (or wasn’t) met, and this needs to be built into the workplan now.

In addition, we believe the government should take further action to improve data. Accurate suicide data is crucial to effective suicide prevention. A wider range of information needs to be collected, digitalised and shared more effectively in order to improve quality, reliability and access.

The report mentions the inequality of suicide but fails to set out any concrete actions for how this will be tackled. We hope that the recommendations contained in our report Dying from Inequality will be included in the forthcoming workplan.

We look forward to working with Government in the coming months to ensure a robust and ambitious workplan that saves lives.

For more information please contact Samaritans’ Press team on 0208 394 8300/07943 809162 out of hours).


Notes to editors:

  • Anyone can call Samaritans, you don’t have to be suicidal. Whatever you’re going through, call us for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
  • Samaritans responds to more than 5.7 million calls for help every year, offering emotional support by phone, email, text and face to face in its 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. For more information please see www.samaritans.org.