Lancashire Dad Welcomes Suicide Prevention Plans

10 October 2018, 14:06 | Updated: 10 October 2018, 16:15

Tony Harrison Suicide prevention

A range of measures including the UK's first suicide prevention minister have been announced

A charity that started in Lancashire aimed at preventing young suicide is welcoming the appointment of the UK's first Suicide Prevention Minister.

Jackie Doyle Price will be in charge of ensuring every local area has effective plans in place to stop unnecessary deaths, she'll also investigate how technology can help identify those most at risk.

Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide) say today's announcements on reducing the number of people dying by suicide are a step in the right direction but warn there's a long way to go.

Chief Executive Ged Flynn was at Downing Street for this morning's announcement he welcomed the moves 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.”

Lancashire Dad Tony Harrison lost his only daughter Vicky to suicide in 2010.

Vicky was 21 at the time of her death, Tony has worked tirelessly since then to help reduce the number of suicides and became a trustee of Papyrus. Lancashire has higher than average rates of suicide and Tony says it is something that needed tackling long ago:  "So far not enough has been done by the government to demonstrate a real commitment to saving young lives but hopefully things will change

"The Prime Minister claimed that the UK now holds mental and physical health in equal esteem, that's way off, we hear every day on Hopeline UK that our young people are left waiting for long periods for proper, professional mental health support.

"As our chairman has said we would like the new minister to come and meet with some Papyrus trustees and many parent whose children's suicide may have been prevented, whether that will happen is another matter. We're happy to work with her to shatter the suicide stigma but we need the government to do this as well".

If you need help call the Payprus Hopeline 08000684141