BRITAIN has appointed the world’s first minister for suicide prevention.
Taking up the post, health minister Jackie Doyle-Price (pictured) promised to put bereaved families at the heart of efforts to cut the number of people taking their own lives.
‘I have met many people who have been bereaved by suicide and their stories of pain and loss will stay with me for a long time,’ she said.
The announcement came as Theresa May pledged a £1.8million boost for the Samaritans. She is also hosting a reception today to mark World Mental Health Day at which she will announce that recruitment of mental health support teams for schools has begun.
‘We can prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives,’ the prime minister is expected to say. ‘And we can give the mental wellbeing of our children the priority it so profoundly deserves.’
The announcements came as the Royal College of Psychiatrists criticised the ‘scandal’ of patients with mental health problems waiting more than three months to see a specialist.
There were 5,821 suicides in Britain last year. While the rate for men was the lowest since 1981, suicide remains the main cause of death for males under 45.
The Samaritans, which gets 5million calls a year, said the funding boost was a ‘welcome acknowledgement of the importance of our vital service’.