£10m allocated for suicide prevention

Charities across England are set to receive a government-funded boost to provide helpline services, support in schools and for vulnerable groups. 

The governments Suicide Prevention VCSE Grant Fund is providing some £10m to 79 charities across the country to bolster suicide-prevention initiatives. These charities include large national bodies and smaller, community-led groups which can provide tailored local support.  

Person in yellow jumper being hugged

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz

According to the latest figures, 5,642 deaths by suicide were registered in England and Wales in 2022, 74.1% of them males. The highest rate was recorded in the north east of England, and among males the highest rates were among those aged 90 or over, and then those aged 45-49. 

The aim of the new funding is to expand access to support services across the whole country, including in areas with the highest rates of suicide, in line with the government’s suicide prevention strategy. To ensure a joined-up approach, many of the charities will deliver support through partnerships and alliances.  

The Samaritans has been awarded £530,000 to support its 24/7 helpline services and other activities, such as research, outreach to vulnerable groups and targeted work in high-risk locations, and ‘postvention’ support for the family and friends of someone who has died by suicide 

Julia Bentley, CEO of Samaritans, says: ‘This funding will help Samaritans continue our mission to save lives. The voluntary sector plays a crucial part in suicide prevention and, in this challenging environment, financial support for charities has never been more important. Today’s announcement is a welcome step towards the resourcing needed to deliver the national suicide prevention strategy.’ 

We Hear You has been a provisional award of £90,000 to support its counselling and therapy work with children and families in Somerset and Wiltshire. 

Lucy Kitchener, CEO of We Hear You, says: ‘Along with every other charity we know, We Hear You is finding fundraising extremely challenging right now. Hearing the news that we have been awarded suicide prevention funding is wonderful, therefore. 

‘Better still, this grant will fund counselling sessions with the people who come to our service feeling the most distraught. Public Health England figures show that one in 10 suicides are from people with a chronic health condition. We Hear You supports people who are affected by cancer and life-threatening conditions.’ 

Among the other recipients of funding, the James’ Place Charity has been award £625,000, which it will use to provide two full-time equivalent therapists in its centres in Liverpool, London and Newcastle to help men in active suicidal crisis. PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide has also received £625,000, which will be used to establish six new community hubs, most of them along the east coast of England, where parents and caregivers can be engaged and trained for free. 

The Department of Health & Social Care has published a provisional shortlist for the Suicide Prevention Grant Fund for 2023 to 2025. 

Maria Caulfield, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, says: ‘Every suicide is a tragedy which leaves a terrible mark on the families and communities affected.  

‘Non-profit organisations play a hugely important role in supporting people with their mental health and preventing suicide in England. This new funding will support people who need it the most and build on the brilliant work happening across the country on suicide prevention.’  

Professor Sir Louis Appleby, National Advisor to the Suicide Prevention Strategy, adds: ‘The new funding is in recognition of the role of voluntary organisations large and small in suicide prevention. They offer support to people in crisis or on the margins of society because of poverty, disability or prejudice. They often work alongside the NHS but in settings where many who need help feel more comfortable. 

‘The new government strategy says that bringing down the suicide rate is a national priority, and the ability of the voluntary sector to reach people at risk is vital.’ 

In related news:

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Charities urge politicians to commit to building a mentally healthier nation

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