Suicide Alliance welcomes PM’s call to reduce stigma around mental health

The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) today welcomes the Prime Minister’s ‘new approach’ to mental health as a step towards reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicidal feelings.

The alliance of more than 70 members, including Samaritans, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide and Network Rail, working together to prevent suicide, says that today’s speech is a statement of intent from which to hold the government to account.

Brian Dow, co-chair of the NSPA said: “2016 was an acknowledgement of the scale of the suicide crisis in the UK and now we are seeing how the government is going to respond. If this approach is going to save lives and make a real tangible difference then it is a very welcome start to 2017.

Our membership has been working in all aspects of suicide prevention and our It’s Okay to Talk’ campaign last year was about reducing stigma and encouraging middle aged men to seek help before feeling overwhelmed. It’s good to see some of this being echoed and championed by the government in today’s speech on mental health.”

While the Prime Minister addressed journalists and third sector chiefs, Jeremy Hunt and the Department of health released the strengthened national strategy for suicide prevention, including a government pledge to improve support for those bereaved by suicide, a move that has been informed by the work of the NSPA and its members.

“Our 140 members and supporters are at the frontline dealing with suicide. We were pleased to work in collaboration with Public Health England and the Support After Suicide Partnership to develop a set of new bereavement support resources, launched today and hope that local authorities and commissioners use them to ensure everyone gets the support they need.

“People bereaved by suicide have told us that this time is crucial for support and can make a big difference to those affected. Research shows that those bereaved by suicide are at high risk of suicide and we need to do everything possible for this group of vulnerable people.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) is a cross-sector, England-wide coalition committed to reducing the number of suicides in England, and improving support for those bereaved or affected by suicide.
  • Co-Chairs of the Alliance are Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer of Samaritans and Brian Dow, Director of External Affairs, Rethink Mental Illness
  • The NSPA is working with more than 140 organisations and individuals from the public, private and voluntary sectors and including those with lived experience of suicide, who are committed to working towards reducing suicide and providing support for people affected by suicide.
  • Members include Rethink Mental Illness, Samaritans, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, The Matthew Elvidge Trust, Network Rail, Grassroots Suicide Prevention, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Mind. The NSPA is funded by the Department of Health. Our full list of members can be found at www.nspa.org.uk/members.

For press enquiries please contact the Press team at Samaritans press office 0208 394 8348.

For out of hours enquiries please call 07943 809162.

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