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Paul Farmer, CEO for Mind said:
“As recommended by the WHO, the UK does collect data on suicides and has a suicide prevention strategy. However we still lose 6,000 people a year to suicide and countless more will attempt to or consider taking their own lives. Clearly there is much more we should be doing. All sectors of society must take responsibility for preventing suicide, including both national and local Government. Every community faces unique challenges and so each local authority needs to develop its own suicide prevention strategy.
“Mental health services have been historically under-funded and we still do not see mental health services provide the kind of emergency response that people with physical health problems receive. When someone is in crisis they need help urgently; we know that lives are being lost when much needed support is not available.
“We need social policies that support and enable everyone to make a full contribution and live fulfilling lives. We need to see continued funding for our Time to Change anti-stigma campaign, which we run with Rethink Mental Illness, so that people can talk openly about how they are feeling and seek help early.
“UK strategies recognise the role of the media in prompting copycat behaviours and call for responsible reporting and portrayal of suicide, but it’s still not happening. Much recent media coverage of Robin Williams’ death received widespread criticism for its graphic nature, showing just how far there is to go.
“Vitally, strategy alone is not enough. We want to see every local authority taking this issue seriously and supporting whole communities to tackle the growing tragedy of suicide in our society.”