Calls for men to talk about mental health to prevent suicide

In 2021, there were over 5,000 suicides registered in England, with suicide being the highest cause of death in men under the age of 50. Around three quarters of deaths from suicides each year are men.

The Samaritans answer a call for help every 10 seconds, and around every 90 minutes someone dies from suicide in the UK. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the highest rates of suicide in men have been in mixed and white ethnic groups. Evidence also suggests ‘that for every suicide, 135 people are directly affected‘.

According to WHO, stigma, especially surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. Therefore, anyone who needs help is being encouraged to speak to their GP or self-refer through the NHS.

The former Health and Social Care Secretary also went on to say: “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.”

Mr Javid discussed how it is vital that this new long-term Suicide Prevention Plan is shaped by the views and experiences of the public, professionals and people with lived experience.  He also highlighted how the government is bolstering voluntary and community suicide prevention services through £5 million of funding in 2021 to 2022. The improvement to support services should ensure that by 2023 to 2024 ‘anyone in the country’ can dial NHS 111 to reach their local NHS mental health team and access around the clock support. This would make England one of the first countries in the world to have this offer.

New plans for the initiatives also include better aftercare services for bereaved families and ‘better use of technology’ to understand causes of suicide.