Make suicide prevention and support a government minister's responsibility
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My brother Dan was my best pal and my idol. He was taken by something silent, something none of his friends or family saw coming.
13 years ago, we lost Dan to suicide.
After he died, I set out a goal of preventing one brother, one father, one family, one friend having to go through what my family, his friends and I went through.
Dan was just one of the 84 men who take their own lives every single week in the UK. The numbers still shock me.
Suicide claims the lives of more than 6,000 British men and women every year and is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Every single suicide directly affects 135 people – people like me, people like you. Beyond this unimaginable emotional cost, every single suicide costs an estimated £1.67 million – a cost to families, friends and wider society.
Yet no minister in the UK government is officially responsible for suicide prevention and bereavement support. No minister is mandated to represent the thousands of people every year who feel like suicide is their only option, or the hundreds of thousands of bereaved families whose lives will never be the same again.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to take a stand.
I’ve joined forces with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), who are leading the movement against male suicide.
Together, we are calling for a government minister to take on official responsibility for suicide prevention and bereavement support.
What would this actually mean?
It means a Government minister would be held to account for the delivery of effective suicide prevention plans for every local area. It means they would be held to account for high standards for bereavement support across the whole country, so it’s no longer a postcode lottery whether you get help after losing a loved one. It means they would be held to account for ensuring accurate data about the people who take their own lives, so we can better understand how to help them stay alive
It means those at risk, as well as their families, getting the support they need.
It means fewer men like Dan. Fewer families like mine.
Join me and CALM to take a #StandAgainstSuicide.
We've made some more specific recommendations and actions that we'd like the new ministerial role to undertake. You can read that paper here.
On March 26th 2018, CALM launched #Project84 to tell the stories behind the statistic that 84 men die by suicide every week. Find out more and join the campaign at: http://bit.ly/WSPD2018CALM.
Have you been affected by suicide? The Support After Suicide Partnership is a hub for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, where you can find emotional and practical support.
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