Charity gives cautious welcome and an invitation to new Suicide Prevention Minister

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The national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide has warmly welcomed the Prime Minister’s appointment of Jackie Doyle-Price MP as the first ever Suicide Prevention Minister.

Attending the announcement of the new post in 10 Downing Street today, PAPYRUS chief executive Ged Flynn praised the PM for this move but made a plea that the government prioritise young suicide: “PAPYRUS looks forward to working with the new suicide prevention minister and welcomes this important appointment. The charity has fought long and hard for this government to take suicide seriously”, he said.

“However, we want to see a much more obvious emphasis on the fact that suicide is the leading cause of deaths in young people between 10 and 34 of both sexes. This must be a primary focus going forward. Teenage suicide is on the increase. Stemming this is more important than anything if this government is really serious about suicide prevention. PAPYRUS believes that suicide is preventable. Let’s see if the government does.

“The Prime Minister cannot seriously claim that the UK now holds mental and physical health in equal esteem. Parity of esteem is way off whilst we hear every day on HOPELINEUK that our young people are often left waiting for lengthy periods for proper, professional mental health support even at the point of suicidal crisis.”

“Thus far, too little has been done to demonstrate a real commitment to saving young lives despite our continued campaigns to work with government to end stigma. For example, the Ministry of Justice has failed miserably in accepting the widely held view that the State perpetuates stigma by demanding the criminal standard of proof in reaching a conclusion of suicide at inquest. We are still waiting for a position from HM Government after a seven-year-long campaign led by PAPYRUS.”

Stephen Habgood, PAPYRUS chairman said: “I would like the new minister to come and meet some of our trustees and the many parents whose children’s suicides could have been prevented. We will happily work with her to smash suicide stigma, starting with that which is perpetuated by the State itself.”

* PAPYRUS was  founded in 1997 by parents who had been bereaved by young suicide. It runs a national helpline service HOPELINEUK for young people who may be having thoughts of suicide and for anyone who may be worried about a young person at risk. The service is staffed by professionals with a specialism in suicide intervention. The charity receives no government support for this service which is funded by charitable giving. The charity also engages communities across the UK in its training and campaign work to help to save young lives. https://papyrus-uk.org/

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