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Government announces support for suicide prevention services

A £5m boost for suicide prevention services has been announced by the government following an increase in demand during the pandemic.

The suicide prevention Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector saw an increase in the number of individuals seeking support – with some services seeing up to 20% more contacts over the last year, compared to previous ones.

Those approaching a crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts will now be helped by this boost in funding.

£4m of the grant fund will open next week for applications from VCSE organisations that support suicide prevention, specifically targeting those with a pre-existing mental illness, children and young people and NHS staff who have faced enormous pressure over the last 18 months, as well as people in contact with the criminal justice system.

The grants will allow organisations currently tackling suicide prevention with additional resources to either set up new projects or sustain current services. The other £1m of funding has been set aside to support existing voluntary sector suicide prevention programmes.

grayscale photo of woman right hand on glass

£200,000 of the grant funding will be ring-fenced specifically for smaller community groups and organisations, which play a vital role in responding to local needs so that communities in all parts of the country can access suicide prevention support.

This is after the government released its latest progress report against the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, detailing the actions taken to reduce suicides throughout the pandemic.

The fund sits on top of the £10.2m given to mental health charities over the course of the pandemic, aimed at keeping suicide prevention organisations afloat during the crisis.

Professor Louis Appleby, Advisor to the Government on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, said: ‘The response of suicide prevention charities to the pandemic has been nothing short of outstanding. They were among the first to respond to the distress that many have felt. They have worked tirelessly to support people who are anxious, isolated or at risk. They have been an invaluable partner to the NHS.

‘All this has stretched their resources to the limit, at a time when fund-raising from the public has been harder. This grant funding opportunity is in recognition of the contribution they have made.’

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