Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, today met with bereaved families and charities such as Papyrus and James Place discussing the government’s planned actions tackling suicide.
The Health Secretary spoke about a new Suicide Prevention Plan, improved services for bereaved families, and using technology to better understand the causes of suicide.
He said: “We must treat suicides with the same urgency that we treat any other major killer. I’m determined to make a difference on this issue and one of the ways we’ll do this is by publishing a new 10-year suicide prevention plan.
“This is something that is deeply personal to me - there are too many families that are left incomplete, and too much potential has gone unfulfilled.
The Suicide Prevention Plan will be shaped by the Mental Health Call for Evidence, which draws vital experience from the people affected the most by suicide.
In 2021, over 5,000 suicides were registered in England – suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 50, with men accounting for around three quarters of suicide deaths each year.
“I want to hear views from far and wide about how to shape this work and the roundtable that I chaired here earlier this morning was so illuminating.
“I heard heart-breaking tales of love and loss but also inspirational stories of the work being done to divert people from this painful path, including of course here at Papyrus. I am determined to make a difference on this issue.”
Javid also outlined the need for a greater use of apps, online services, and data collection, which will include the launch of a new national suspected suicide surveillance system early next year, which will analyse risk patterns with the intention of developing better mitigation methods.
The Online Safety Bill will also contribute to better understanding the complexities of suicide and ensuring any upcoming legislation is appropriately adapted to emerging and evolving challenges.
The Health Secretary said: “The Online Safety Bill gives us a once in a generation opportunity to tackle this issue. I will also work jointly across government to look at both upcoming and current legislation to make sure it meets the rapidly evolving challenges that we face.
“Because when it comes to the encouragement of suicide, we are currently relying on legislation that was primarily created long before the digital age.”
If you want to hear more from Sajid Javid’s speech and what the government are doing to tackle suicide, click here.