Marking World Mental Health Day (10 October), Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that it is to provide funding towards keeping the Samaritans helpline free for the next four years.
The Government will provide up to £1.8 million for the helpline, which people can call for free at any time on 116 123.
The Prime Minister has also announced that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price will become the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention. She 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.
Her role will also be to ensure that every local area has an effective suicide prevention plan in place, and to look at how technology can be used to identify those most at risk.
The Prime Minister will also announce today the launch of the government’s new campaign to train a million people in mental health awareness – Every Mind Matters – with a pilot in the West Midlands ahead of a national rollout next Spring.
On the new funding, Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said:
“We welcome the government’s announcement of funding towards Samaritans’ helpline, which will meet around 10% of the total helpline costs for the next four years and help us to continue to provide our service free of charge.
“Samaritans’ 20,000 volunteers are available at any time for anyone who is struggling to cope. We respond to more than five million requests for help a year. This is an acknowledgement of the importance of our service.”
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