SURREY, 17-Feb-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — We need to involve the whole community to bring about a revolution in suicide prevention, and Samaritans welcomes the Mental Health Taskforce report as a step in the right direction.
We are pleased to see that local multi-agency suicide prevention plans are a critical part of this, but to reach the target of a 10% reduction in suicides in five years, there needs to be a clear long-term financial commitment to carry this through. The plans must be transparent, robust and properly funded to be effective, and designed to have the maximum impact locally.
Samaritans wants to see a whole life approach, from teaching emotional resilience in schools to providing excellent crisis care whenever people need it. We are acutely aware of the improvements needed, with our volunteers providing support around the clock, being there for people in their darkest hour, and going where people need us, including in prisons, in A and E and in police custody suites.
We have long known that some groups such as servicemen and women, who are at particular risk and need specialist support, have not had the help they need and we would like to know how this is to be addressed.
We welcome the call for more research. Samaritans works closely with academics who specialise in studying suicide and it is crucial that we find out more about why people are driven to take their own lives, so that we can make sure that the support we give is effective.
Our volunteers are at the heart of their communities, and with only a quarter of those who die by suicide having had contact with a GP or other health professional in the final weeks of their lives, it shows that there is a lot of work to be done to raise awareness and get people talking. Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “The taskforce brings the opportunity of a generation to make the step change needed, If we are not sufficiently rigorous now, we squander the chance to make a real difference to people’s lives now and for future generations
“In addition to much needed advances in care and treatment Samaritans believes that emotional wellbeing needs to be at the centre of the national conversation, in order for us to make it easier to encourage people to seek help early. Stressing the value of talking as a means to find a way through problems can help people all their lives, as Samaritans volunteers can testify. As a society, we need to collaborate, pool our resources and achieve common purpose. Suicide is not inevitable, there is no stigma because together we can prevent this devastating loss of life and huge cost.
“Suicide prevention targets, measures to tackle stigma and inequality and working to include disadvantaged groups on the margins of society are all valuable aims, as are highlighting the issues which lead to people struggling and falling into crisis.
“However we need to involve every sector of society in this debate, or we are only scratching the surface.”
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