PM pledges action on suicide to mark World Mental Health Day

Prime Minister Theresa May announces new funding for Samaritans’ helpline and appoints first UK Minister for Suicide Prevention.

The Samaritans’ helpline will remain free for the next four years with support from the government, Theresa May announced today as she marked World Mental Health Day.

New government funding – up to £1.8 million – will help ensure the charity can continue to provide immediate and lifesaving support to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day.

The Prime Minister also announced today that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price will become the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention.

Around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England and suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45. In her new role, the minister will lead government efforts to cut the number of suicides and overcome the stigma that stops people seeking help.

The Minister will lead a new national effort on suicide prevention, bringing together a ministerial taskforce and working with national and local government, experts in suicide and self-harm prevention, charities, clinicians and those personally affected by suicide.

She will also ensure every local area has an effective suicide prevention plan in place, and look at how the latest technology can be used to identify those most at risk.

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14. The Prime Minister has made a series of further announcements today on children and young people’s mental health:

  • Recruitment has now begun for new mental health support teams who will work with schools to ensure young people with mental health issues get the help they need – trainees will begin studying in January and join schools across England next year
  • Starting in 2019, the government will publish a ‘State of the Nation’ report every year on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being – the first time children’s mental health will be reported in this way, alongside their physical health and academic attainment
  • The government will provide tools to help schools measure their students’ health, including their mental wellbeing – building on the commitment to make education in mental health and resilience a compulsory part of the curriculum