Starmer unveils plan to tackle self harm and suicide

14/01/2024

Starmer unveils plan to tackle self-harm and suicide

Thousands of mental health professionals would be specially trained to support people who self-harm under Labour plans to drive down suicide rates.

Sir Keir Starmer promised to take “urgent action” on Sunday as he said he recognised the “raw pain” that families face after losing someone to suicide.

He pledged to provide specialist self-harm training to the 8,500 additional mental health staff he committed to recruiting if his party wins the general election this year.

Labour said the overall policy would cost £440 million and that it would be paid for by scrapping a private equity loophole it believes would raise up to £600 million.

Sir Keir said: “Almost all of us can think of someone who has tragically lost their life to suicide.

“Too many families are being ripped apart by grief after losing a loved one to suicide. It is a raw pain – that fact alone should shock us all into action.”

He was announcing the policy after setting out a child health action plan featuring supervised toothbrushing, a watershed for junk food ads and a ban on adverts targeted at children.

Analysis of NHS figures by his party suggested that there has been a 125% increase in admissions of under 15s to hospital for self-harm or overdose in the last 13 years.

The Labour leader said: “The value of getting in front of problems is no more apparent than when it comes to our children’s mental health.

“The number of children showing signs of acute distress is heartbreaking, and behind those stats are millions of families going through hell.”

A Government spokesman responded: “We’re taking action to reduce the number of tragic suicides.

“An extra £2.3 billion a year is going into mental health services to help two million more people, and £150 million is being invested to support people experiencing a crisis – including to support the roll-out of mental health ambulances.

“The mental health workforce continues to grow, we’re extending coverage of mental health support teams to at least 50% of pupils in England by the end of March 2025, and our Online Safety Act will create a new criminal offence of encouraging or assisting serious self-harm by means of communication.”

– For mental health support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

Published: by Radio NewsHub



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