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PAPYRUS Response to PM Speech

10th January 2017

PAPYRUS welcomes moves to improve suicide prevention through the government’s publication of an updated Suicide Prevention Strategy on 9 January 2017. Furthermore, we warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s speech on mental health. Much of what she said gives real hope to those who struggle with poor mental health and to those who work tirelessly to support them.

PAPYRUS had written to Theresa May in July on her becoming Prime Minister to address some pressing concerns about the prevention of young suicide, the leading cause of death in young people aged 10-34 years in the UK.

Today we wrote to thank Mrs May for prioritising mental health in this key speech which we found very encouraging. We were particularly heartened to hear the government’s intention to improve resources for and review the work of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, something about which many of our members and supporters have been campaigning for many years.

We also welcome the promise of investment in mental health first aid training to support children in schools, and a commitment that, by 2021, no child will be sent away from their local area to receive mental health support.

We have also written again to the Lord Chancellor to press for urgent action on the question of the continuing use of the criminal standard of proof used by coroners in reaching a conclusion of suicide at inquest. We have urged the Prime Minister to lend her personal support to this important campaign area which PAPYRUS has led on for over four years.

PAPYRUS is a campaigning charity. Many of our members and supporters and, indeed, our trustees are angry that they have lost children to suicide. They are angry that the government prevaricates and often seems to fob us off, making little real effort to address the disgraceful position around young suicide.

If today’s words are translated into action and the refreshed strategy is resourced and implemented, we will indeed see a reduction in suicide. PAPYRUS will do all in its power to help with this.

PAPYRUS began the work early in 2013 around changing the way coroners reach a suicide conclusion. PAPYRUS was the leading voice calling for suicide recipe sites to be taken down from the internet. PAPYRUS has been arguing for years that there is inadequate provision for young people who are suicidal. PAPYRUS has been in discussion with MoJ around prison suicide for a number of years. PAPYRUS has been campaigning for years to have the issue of confidentiality addressed by the medical profession. PAPYRUS actively works (with the Making Families Count NHS project team) to encourage the NHS to engage with families in the investigation of suicides.

If we continue to speak to broken parents whose lives have been devastated by the loss of a young person to suicide, we will continue to create as much noise as possible to press that more must be done to prevent young suicide. PAPYRUS does not speak only on behalf of these parents; we also speak for their dead children.

PAPYRUS hopes that the Prime Minister’s words are now translated into real action and that, longer term, they help to prevent suicide among young people and others – something which remains our number one priority.

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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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