Julie Bentley, CEO at Samaritans, has responded to today's Budget 2021 calling on more support to help people who are struggling
Responding to today’s Budget announcement, Julie Bentley, CEO at Samaritans, said: “Suicide is the leading cause of death among men under 50 and young people in the UK. It is an inequality issue with men who are less well-off and living in the most deprived areas up to ten times more likely to die by suicide than more well-off men from the most affluent areas. Every suicide is a tragedy and devastates families and communities, yet today, the Government has failed to prioritise suicide prevention in its Spending Review.
“With the estimated cost of every suicide being £1.67million, and around 6000 lives lost to suicide every year, the absence of funding for suicide prevention in today’s spending review is extremely short-sighted. Many local areas, particularly those experiencing deprivation, where suicide rates are highest, will be without funding to support critical local suicide prevention initiatives.
“Self-harm is a strong risk factor for future suicide and rates are rising, particularly amongst young people. We are disappointed the government has chosen not to fund open access mental health hubs in today’s Spending Review. This is a missed opportunity to provide support to young people who self-harm much earlier than at present, and reduce future suicide risk. Our research “From Pillar to Post” clearly shows that young people aren’t get the support they need, and this seems unlikely to change.
“The pandemic has shown everyone how important is it to have comprehensive and timely data, yet we still do not have a nationwide system for collecting reliable, comprehensive and timely data on suspected suicides. It is extremely worrying that ongoing funding to support this system has been omitted from today’s Spending Review, reducing the likelihood of being able to deliver a rapid response to emerging issues and any increase in suicides.
“The government has failed to meet its commitment to reducing suicide rates by 10% by 2021, and the lack of funding in today’s Spending Review sends a concerning signal about its future intention on this issue. Suicide prevention must be a priority and we would ask the government to re-affirm its commitment to saving lives.”
 Samaritans. (2017). Dying from inequality: socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviour.