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SANE comment on the new suicide prevention minister
Added: 10th Oct 2018

Responding to news of a new minister for suicide prevention and other measures announced by prime minister Theresa May, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of SANE, says: “While we welcome the appointment of a new suicide prevention minister, we wonder how we are going to reduce the number of suicides when we know from the hundreds of calls to our helpline that when a person faces a mental health crisis they cannot find the urgent response they need.

“Even a two-week target is too long for someone in acute distress or despair. You or I, or anyone in crisis today is either likely to endure a long wait for a referral from a GP; attend an A&E department only to be triaged and sent home; or, according to a recent report, if the police are involved be detained in a cell.

“It is heartening that there is such a movement to raise awareness and encourage people to talk about their mental health and seek help. But we question how responsible this is when no new money has yet been promised to repair the fragmented mental health services – where there is already a severe shortage of doctors, nurses and psychiatric beds.

“Without major investment in frontline services no amount of talk, global summits or government goodwill can prevent the further erosion of the mental health system, with consequences such as the current epidemic of self-harm and continuing, unnecessary loss of life.”

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