Response to the government’s new National Suicide Prevention strategy for England

Release Date: 10 September 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Simon Lawton-Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation, responds to the government’s new National Suicide Prevention strategy for England:

“We welcome this new strategy. It provides continuing momentum to the good work done over the past decade in reducing the number of people who take their own lives each year.

However, there are still over five and a half thousand suicides each year in the UK, with over 4000 of these occurring in England alone. More worryingly, the recent decrease in the suicide rate seems to have halted. It is therefore even more important that suicide prevention remains a high priority in a time of continued economic uncertainty.

We know that the recession has brought an increased risk of mental health problems for many individuals. The fear, or reality, of unemployment, insecure housing and high levels of debt are all associated with higher levels of mental health problems, including increased rates of anxiety and depression. Continued work on improving the accessibility of services and support for people who are vulnerable and may be feeling suicidal is vital if we are to deal with the fall out of the continuing recession.

People’s unwillingness to talk about their problems can be a factor in suicide. More still needs to be done to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health and to encourage people to seek help and speak openly about problems they may be experiencing.”