Suicide prevention services stalling due to lack of funding, parliamentary inquiry warns

Government funding shortfalls for suicide prevention services could mean people are dying unnecessarily, an influential cross-party committee of MPs has warned.

MPs on the House of Commons Health Select Committee said funding for suicide prevention was currently “too little, too late” and called for an overhaul of the Government’s suicide prevention strategy.

“We note that there are currently important steps which could be taken to reduce suicide but which cannot be acted upon due to the lack of significant additional resource,” the MPs warned in a report released on Thursday.

The committee urged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to give more details of the Government’s suicide prevention strategy, and said that more attention should be paid to whether local councils were properly engaging with the issue.

They called for more clarity on where money would come from to fund the pledges in the strategy and said doctors should be better trained to recognise the symptoms of a person who might be feeling suicidal. The committee also called on the Government to close a shortfall in the number of trained mental health professionals.

The committee report continued: “We welcome the provision of funding for suicide prevention but we are concerned that it will be too little and too late to implement the strategy as effectively as required.

“We call on the Government to set out how it will make sure that funding is available for the actions outlined in the strategy.”

Full story in The Independent, 15 March 2017