Assistant Editor , SHP

July 8, 2022

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Calls for men to talk about mental health to prevent suicide

Former Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, recently highlighted the importance of seeking help, particularly for men, with wide-ranging plans already underway to boost support services as well as new initiatives to reduce suicides.

In 2021, there were over 5,000 suicides registered in England, with suicide being the highest cause of death in men under the age of 50. Around three quarters of deaths from suicides each year are men.

The Samaritans answer a call for help every 10 seconds, and around every 90 minutes someone dies from suicide in the UK. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the highest rates of suicide in men have been in mixed and white ethnic groups. Evidence also suggests ‘that for every suicide, 135 people are directly affected‘.

According to WHO, stigma, especially surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. Therefore, anyone who needs help is being encouraged to speak to their GP or self-refer through the NHS.

The former Health and Social Care Secretary also went on to say: “We must treat suicides with the same urgency that we treat any other major killer.

“I’m determined to make a difference on this issue … and one of the ways we’ll do this is by publishing a new 10-year Suicide Prevention Plan.”

Mr Javid discussed how it is vital that this new long-term Suicide Prevention Plan is shaped by the views and experiences of the public, professionals and people with lived experience.  He also highlighted how the government is bolstering voluntary and community suicide prevention services through £5 million of funding in 2021 to 2022. The improvement to support services should ensure that by 2023 to 2024 ‘anyone in the country’ can dial NHS 111 to reach their local NHS mental health team and access around the clock support. This would make England one of the first countries in the world to have this offer.

New plans for the initiatives also include better aftercare services for bereaved families and ‘better use of technology’ to understand causes of suicide.

People who have been bereaved by suicide within their immediate family will be contacted by bereavement services proactively ‘within days’ of a referral to offer support, removing the onus from the bereaved at their time of grief.

As well as this, the use of apps, online services and efficient data collection, will enable a better understanding of tackling complex causes of suicide, including through the Online Safety Bill and ensuring upcoming legislation adapts to rapidly evolving challenges.

Shortly after making this statement, Mr Javid resigned from government, saying he no longer has confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lead the country.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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