Health Secretary Sajid Javid MP has been praised for delivering a moving speech described as a seismic shift in the conversation around suicide.
The national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide says Mr Javid’s decision to open-up about his own brother’s death will empower others to break the silence.
The Health and Social Care Secretary shared his family tragedy at the launch of a new suicide prevention strategy for England at an event hosted by PAPYRUS.
The charity’s Chief Executive, Ged Flynn, said: “A senior, serving minister in the government sharing his experience of losing his own brother Tariq to suicide four years ago was public exposure of deeply personal and private pain.
“The significance of his speech cannot be overstated. It was a seismic shift in the societal conversation.
“When somebody in such a high-profile position of leadership in our country dares to break the silence around suicide and links that to their own personal story, stigma is reduced.
“Sajid Javid said that ‘keeping quiet can kill.’ Many stay silent, suffering privately with thoughts of ending their own lives. We want people to speak about and ask about suicide, seek help and find it.”
Mr Javid was at the London offices of PAPYRUS to announce a new strategy for England focussing on reducing suicides. Ahead of his speech he attended a round table event at which key stakeholders in suicide prevention shared their ideas for the new action plan.
During his visit the Health Secretary also had a private meeting with parents bereaved by suicide including Harry Biggs-Davison, the Chair of Trustees at PAPYRUS, whose son Patrick took his own life. He also met Philip Pirie whose son Tom died by suicide. Mr Pirie had been asking for a meeting with Mr Javid to respond to calls for a review of flawed clinical suicide assessments.
PAPYRUS, which is marking 25 years since it was founded by a group of bereaved parents, says it was honoured to welcome Mr Javid and key stakeholders and welcomes the new suicide prevention strategy.
“Government has recognised its own responsibility to prioritise suicide prevention and support for those who need it.
“Like the Secretary of State, PAPYRUS refuses to be silent. Sajid Javid’s brave speech is a game-changer. It must now be matched with a brave, ambitious action plan which impels all parties, all government departments, all communities and every citizen to play their part,” added Ged Flynn.
PAPYRUS is eager to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to contribute to the current consultation on mental health. The charity is particularly keen to hear the views of young people. The deadline is 11.45pm on 7 July 2022: https://consultations.dhsc.gov.uk/623ac367ea9bcd4c024d6df9