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Suicide prevention minister appointed to mark World Mental Health Day

Wednesday 10th October 2018
A minister for suicide has been appointed to help reduce the number of people taking their own lives.
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    Prime minister Theresa May has marked World Mental health Day by appointing a minister for suicide prevention. 

    Jackie Doyle-Price has been appointed to the role, which has been announced as ministers and officials from more than 50 countries gather in London for a global summit on mental health issues. 

    The meeting is being hosted by health secretary Matt Hancock and those in attendance also include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

    Speaking about Ms Doyle-Price's new role, Mrs May said: "We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence and prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives."

    Mrs Doyle-Price commented that her focus on suicide prevention will be to work with each health area in England to establish strategies for reducing suicide. She said she understood the impact of such tragedies because she had met the families of those who had taken their own lives and appreciated the "tragic, devastating and long-lasting" impact it had on them.

    The government is also introducing more support for schools, including mental health support teams and help to measure students' mental health, including tools for self-assessment.

    In addition, £1.8 million is being given to the Samaritans. 

    The need for quick diagnosis and early intervention may be boosted by the measures, which mental health campaigner Hannah Lewis has argued will make a major difference. 

    She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Mental health is known to deteriorate when you are left without help, and you can only imagine how things got worse with me."

    These comments back up a claim made earlier this month by mental health charity Mind, which said longer waits to intervene in mental health problems made them worse. 

    Research carried out by Mind and independent research charity Picker revealed that 33 per cent of people who had booked a GP appointment concerning their mental health had had to wait more than six days for it. Of these people waiting a week or more, 32 per cent said their mental health had got worse in the meantime.

    Written by Angela Newbury

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