A £5 million fund has been unveiled by the government to help support the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector on suicide prevention services.
Suicide prevention services have seen a 20% increase in contact over the last year with more individuals seeking support due to suicidal thoughts.
Minister for Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, said: “I know the last 18 months have been really challenging and many more people have been asking for help with their mental health.
“I want to be clear: we are here to support anyone struggling - and if you need help, I encourage you to reach out.
“The entire suicide prevention voluntary sector has played a crucial role in providing people with the help and support they need throughout the pandemic, and I encourage them to apply for this funding so we can continue to support our communities.”
The new funding will be in addition to the £10.2 million that has already been given to mental health charities during the pandemic.
A further £200,000 grant will be outlined in the near future to help support community groups which are crucial to ensuring local support to those who cannot access other suicide prevention support.
New projects along with expansion of current services will use the funding to ensure support is available to all who need it, with £1 million of the funding will be used to support existing suicide prevention programmes.
The VCSE sector provides crucial support for people who experience suicidal thoughts and works alongside other NHS mental health programmes.
Professor Louis Appleby, Advisor to the Government on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, said: “The response of suicide prevention charities to the pandemic has been nothing short of outstanding.
“They were among the first to respond to the distress that many have felt. They have worked tirelessly to support people who are anxious, isolated or at risk. They have been an invaluable partner to the NHS.
“All this has stretched their resources to the limit, at a time when fund-raising from the public has been harder. This grant funding opportunity is in recognition of the contribution they have made.”