National charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide warmly welcomes the Prime Minister’s appointment today of Jackie Doyle-Price MP as the first ever Suicide Prevention Minister.

Attending the announcement of the new post in 10 Downing Street today, PAPYRUS chief executive Ged Flynn praised the PM for this move but made a plea that the government prioritise young suicide:

“PAPYRUS looks forward to working with the new suicide prevention minister and welcomes this important appointment. The charity has fought long and hard for this government to take suicide seriously,” he said.

“However, we want to see a much more obvious emphasis on the fact that suicide is the leading cause of deaths in young people between 10 and 34 of both sexes. This must be a primary focus going forward. Teenage suicide is on the increase. Stemming this is more important than anything if this government is really serious about suicide prevention. PAPYRUS believes that suicide is preventable. Let’s see if the government does.

“The Prime Minister cannot seriously claim that the UK now holds mental and physical health in equal esteem. Parity of esteem is way off whilst we hear every day on HOPELINEUK that our young people are often left waiting for lengthy periods for proper, professional mental health support even at the point of suicidal crisis.”

“Thus far, too little has been done to demonstrate a real commitment to saving young lives despite our continued campaigns to work with government to end stigma. For example, the Ministry of Justice has failed miserably in accepting the widely held view that the State perpetuates stigma by demanding the criminal standard of proof in reaching a conclusion of suicide at inquest. We are still waiting for a position from HM Government after a seven-year-long campaign led by PAPYRUS.”

Stephen Habgood, PAPYRUS chairman said: “I would like the new minister to come and meet some of our trustees and the many parents whose children’s suicides could have been prevented. We will happily work with her to smash suicide stigma, starting with that which is perpetuated by the State itself.”

PAPYRUS, founded in 1997 by parents who had been bereaved by young suicide, runs its national helpline service HOPELINEUK for young people who may be having thoughts of suicide and for anyone who may be worried about a young person at risk. The service is staffed by professionals with a specialism in suicide intervention. The charity receives no government support for this service which is funded by charitable giving. The charity also engages communities across the UK in its training and campaign work to help to save young lives.


Suicide is the main cause of death in young people under 35 in the UK. Every year in the UK over 1,600 take their own lives. PAPYRUS believes that many are preventable. The charity provides practical advice and support – how to cope, what to say and do – to young people and others concerned that a young person may be at risk of killing themselves.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK tel 0800 068 41 41 text 07860 039967 email

Editorial contact for more information
Rosemary Vaux
PAPYRUS Press Office
tel 020 8943 5343
mobile 07799 863 321


23 comments on “Cautious Welcome to New Suicide Prevention Minister

  1. Gail Outram on

    My daughter’s friend took her life aged 18. Her appointment for help came through the day after she died. This is such an important charity, I have been raising awareness through fund raising in memory of my daughter’s friend and my daughter is doing a parachute in her memory too. We raised over £500. Yes let’s hope this government appointment.makes a difference.

  2. Pauline and Charles Coulson on

    We think that it is a positive action for the government to appoint a Suicide Prevention Minister and agree that the main concern should be on young suicides. We need the focus on caring for the mental health of those who are desparate and for whom suicide seems to be the only way to alleviate the pain. Much work is needed in this field and it is to be hoped that the funding will be there to train and educate the responders. It is to be hoped that the experience and skills of those involved with PAPYRUS will be used in the discussions and interventions.

  3. Marie Best on

    Having been a member of PAPYRUS since the year 2000, this is a great step forward.

    I monitor a secret Facebook page for parents bereaved by suicide, under the umbrella of The Compassionate Friends, so witness first hand, the number of young people who tragically take their own lives.

    The new minister should come and meet up with PAPYRUS trustees and members and learn of the work we have been doing, especially in the face of such deep tragedy.

    • Ian moore on

      Would it possible to add my mother to this group please. It mat help her with the recent loss of my brother? Would be appreciated thanks. Ian

  4. Debra Tucker on

    fantastic news and let’s just hope that funding young peoples services are a priority so that there are no waiting lists!

  5. Richard Dance on

    One thing I do not understand is all insurance companies will not pay out as it’s not seen as a sickness as I have witnessed with life assurance 11 months paid 1 month short of the required 12, suicide is seen as a act of that person to take his or her life ?

  6. Sue Soare on

    I really hope that Psychiatrists and mental health teams look at young people and young adults as a whole person and try wholeheartedly to eliminate any physical cause of mental health issues.
    I feel that Psychiatrists and their teams are all about medication which sometimes makes people feel worse and if they refuse to take be compliant they are then not worked with. I feel that some of the support workers or crisis intervention workers have not had adequate training about suicide prevention and are not even aware of some of the helplines and websites that are around.
    When my son was ill, I was given a sheet of numbers and Papyrus, CALM or Suicide alliance was not even on the sheet. I had to do all the research myself.
    Unfortunately my son took his own life in August this year in part due to the lack of high quality care and empathy.

    • PAPYRUS on

      Hi Sue. Thank you for your comment. We agree there needs to be more training provided around suicide prevention and intervention, particularly for frontline health-workers. We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your son to suicide. If you need any support during this difficult time, there are support organisations listed on our website:

  7. Teresa Tomlinson on

    It is good news to hear that the Prime Minister has appointed a new Minister re suicide however, I feel we still have a long way to go to improve the services regarding mental not only for our young but for all.

    As a triage nurse myself, I triage many MH patients often and find it sad when I hear of some services not accepting new referrals due to resources and shortage of staff.

    The Government needs to address the reasons why services are struggling/coping to endeavour the best holistic individualised patient care for this sector of society and eliminate the stigma attached to MH.

    I have always said and posted on media resources such as twitter that a good start would be to educate in schools about MH and what is already out there regarding current services so that, they know they are not alone and in times of crisis aware of who to contact.




  9. Rosie Woods on

    Dept of National Statistics

    Suicide patterns by age
    When looking at age-specific rates of suicide in 2017 (Figure 5), among all persons the rates increase with age, being highest among 45- to 49-year-olds (15.6 deaths per 100,000 population). The rates then decrease until the age of 80 to 84 years, after which they begin to rise. The suicide rate among people aged 85 years and over was higher than at 60 to 84 years.

    By sex, males aged 45 to 49 years had the highest rate at 24.8 per 100,000 males, while females aged 50 to 54 years had the highest rate at 6.8 per 100,000 females.

    Agree with cautious welcome, but not that one group be prioritised. Groups other than children/young adults are equally at risk. Papyrus does an amazing job and makes a real difference to the age group it targets. But other targeted services are needed. Samaritans does a fab job too – but there is no continuity for the caller.

    I’ll be writing to the new minister to ask that a broad stroke approach is taken, yes, focusing on the young, but also on the older no less valuable lives.

    Not a criticism of Papyrus response, just an alternative view, based on 20 years of experience.

    Bless the work and the workers

  10. Linda Buckley on

    A small step. The headline announcement of extra funding for the Samaritans May support some in crisis. Extra funding for provision of training in suicide awareness would be useful…but as Ged and Stephen said resources are needed to identify and intervene professionally much earlier. The optimist in me sees a step forwards; the cynic sticking plaster politics. Keep up the excellent work.

  11. Jean Kerr on

    This can only be good news. Let’s hope there will be close cooperation between the new Suicide Prevention Minister and PAPYRUS in the future.

  12. Eileen Poole on

    I hope the new minister will listed to all the wonderful organisations who for years have been doing the job of trying to save lives. I agree that targeting young people is a good idea, if we can enable these youngster to talk about their troubles then perhaps we can prevent these young deaths
    I also agree with Rosie we have to somehow get through to older men, my son was 40 when he took his life, close to his grave are four more men from 32-49 who committed suicide.
    I commend the young royals who are highlighting mental health problems, also the sportsmen who have been brave enough to talk about it

  13. CN Rock on

    Very cautious welcome. My son 29 died 10 years ago next month but so easily preventable if the local MHT front line had any idea how to deal and act effectively, or even follow policies and procedures. It was a pointless waste of a life. The worst thing is that my complaint was whitewashed by the MHTrust, and is still unresolved today due to the entirely counterproductive attitude of two parties: the NHS complaints machinery, in total defence; and PHSO Ombudsman arrogance to achieve closure by whatever means and that includes wearing down the complainant by sheer force of denials, opaque and irrelevant defences and the mental abuse it causes over years of incompetent handling. The PHSO as it stands is totally unfit for purpose and, in dragging out complaints for years unappreciated and unresolved, allows further harm to happen when action could have been taken long before the current epidemic.

  14. Roy Stansbury on

    I totally agree with Teresa’s comments above.
    A cautious welcome but more proactive intervention options for all ages are needed – and not the GPs as often quoted by politicians. They are great at what they do and are a good place to start the journey but are called general practitioners for a reason! Hope the new minister gets to read all these insightful comments – Papyrus hope you can draw attention to them?

  15. Paul on

    I am happy to see that organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, papyrus, adaa, vapingdaily are writing about such fundamental problems in our life. So we can`t forget about it and can always keep remembering that!


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