The Prime Minister has announced up to £1.8m funding for Samarians’ helpline, which will cover 10 per cent of its costs and ensure it remains free for the next four years.
Theresa May made the announcement on World Mental Health Day, and also announced that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price will also become the UK’s first minister for suicide prevention.
The funding will help ensure the charity can continue to provide immediate and lifesaving support to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day.
Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Samaritans, said: “We’re incredibly pleased that the government has announced that it will help fund Samaritans’ helpline.
“Samaritans is a charity and the majority of the service is funded by public donations. This new funding will meet around 10 per cent of the total helpline costs for the next four years. This will help us make sure our life-saving service is always there for anyone who is struggling to cope.”
Sutherland added: “We are particularly pleased that the sovernment has announced today that it will be introducing mental health lessons in schools. Samaritans believes that learning to deal with your emotions is as important as learning to read and write."
She added that local services also deserved support, and said: “The government has shown its commitment to preventing suicide through helping to fund our helpline, and by also announcing today that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price's responsibility for suicide prevention will be formalised. But every death through suicide is a tragedy and we now need to see funding for local services to prevent the unnecessary deaths we still see far too often."
The minister will lead a new national effort on suicide prevention, bringing together a ministerial taskforce and working with national and local government, experts in suicide and self-harm prevention, charities, clinicians and those personally affected by suicide.
She will also ensure every local area has an effective suicide prevention plan in place, and look at how the latest technology can be used to identify those most at risk.
Theresa May also announced a series of further announcements today on children and young people’s mental health:
- Recruitment has now begun for new mental health support teams who will work with schools to ensure young people with mental health issues get the help they need – trainees will begin studying in January and join schools across England next year
- Starting in 2019, the government will publish a ‘State of the Nation’ report every year on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being – the first time children’s mental health will be reported in this way, alongside their physical health and academic attainment
- The government will provide tools to help schools measure their students’ health, including their mental wellbeing – building on the commitment to make education in mental health and resilience a compulsory part of the curriculum