Today the Government announced the appointment of a new Minister of Suicide Prevention and funding for the Samaritans. Having the “world’s first minister for suicide prevention” is a progressive and welcome step and something that has been needed for some time.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, but also the biggest killer of young people in the UK.
This is a tragic situation, but thankfully many services, professionals, and people impacted by suicide have done amazing work to reduce the stigma in seeking interventions for both mental health support and suicide prevention.
Reducing stigma is an essential first step in helping people, in supporting those most in need to reach out and start a healing process. The difficulty however, is whether the support is actually there.
This is where a much wider gap exists and needs much more consideration and funding. We ultimately face a fairly harrowing position for those struggling with their mental health; that we reduce the stigma so they reach out, only to be met by a lack of provision and support. They are left either waiting, or without a service.
We’re in a fantastic position to offer young people support and interventions at Kooth in areas where we are commissioned, providing support and clinically robust interventions in such a convenient and innovative way: online. While services and support ‘on the ground’ have faced huge cutbacks over recent years, this has had a monumental impact on young people’s mental health.
In appointing a minister for suicide prevention, we hope this is the first of many ambitious, and much needed, steps in tackling mental health.