A Portrait of Mental Health
The UK government's suicide prevention fund for charities has been relaunched with the funding doubled from £5.4 million to reach £10 million. Rigos101/Wikimedia Commons

Charitable organisations in Britain will get a new lease of life as the UK government announced a multi-million-pound suicide prevention fund to tackle the ever-increasing suicide rates.

On August 25, the Department of Health and Social Care relaunched a £10 million suicide prevention fund along with a £13.6 billion fund for NHS mental health support.

The £13.6 billion NHS funding will boost services like eating disorder services, talking therapies services and other such child and young people mental health services.

A step towards building a national suicide prevention strategy

Earlier in 2021 and 22, the government supported more than 100 charitable organisations with suicide prevention funds worth £5.4 million. These organisations belonged to the voluntary, community and social enterprise or VCSE sector.

Based on the positive results from the last two years' suicide prevention fund allocations, the government has doubled the funding. Almost every organisation that received the funding spoke of its effectiveness in tackling mental health issues which increased in the COVID-19 pandemic. Enhanced accessibility to mental healthcare services helped in saving lives as suicidal thoughts were quickly identified.

The UK Minister for Mental Health, Maria Caulfield stressed on the necessity of taking action as suicide is the biggest killer of men below 35 years of age.

Caulfield termed every single suicide as a "tragedy" and the government is taking action to counter it by launching this £10 million suicide prevention fund which will make mental health support accessible to people across the UK. The new funding builds on the success of previous funds that pulled people out of the crisis, Caulfield added.

The Mental Health minister further underlined how the government's suicide prevention schemes have established suicide prevention plans in local areas, tackling the special needs of vulnerable people. This is done through a £57 million investment as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Caulfield revealed that a new national suicide prevention strategy will be released later this year. In the new strategy, the UK government will demarcate the actions and commitments to prevent deaths by suicide. This £10 million suicide prevention fund is part of that strategy to prevent deaths with innovative and preventative activities, the mental health minister added.

Call for UK charities to take advantage of the suicide prevention fund

The UK government has asked charitable organisations across the country to come forward and apply for the funding. Thousands of people thinking of suicide will have access to vital support for their mental health crisis through the new suicide prevention fund.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay called the voluntary suicide prevention sector an important part of mental health support and the UK government is recognising the VCSE sector's role in preventing suicides along with the NHS.

Barclay asked charities to come forward and apply for funding to save lives and tackle mental health-related taboos.

The UK government is aiming to reduce the burden of the NHS and the charity sector through the Suicide Prevention Grant Fund as it will make it possible for many people to get support before their mental health situation goes out of control.

Ged Flynn, the Chief Executive of Papyrus Prevention of Young, highlighted how crucial the relaunched funding is for treating young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Flynn spoke about the growing menace of suicide in the last decade where Suicide has become the biggest cause of death amongst young Brits below the age of 35. There's also a spike in deaths by suicide in young women below 25 years of age, revealed Flynn.

This is supported by NHS data which says that the NHS helplines receive 200,000 calls per month while Samaritans' report shows more than 10,000 calls to suicide helplines per day. The government funding will boost the capacity of suicide prevention helplines and also aid in launching campaigns to reach out to people at risk, Flynn added.

This comes at a time when the NHS is seeking to connect with the people through the NHS Federated Data Platform.

According to Professor Sir Louis Appleby, national advisor of UK suicide prevention strategy, charities should apply for the grant given the pressure faced by this sector

With a £2.3 billion additional funding every year till March 2024 the government will make the NHS mental health services reach out to two million extra people. Mental health facilities like private bedrooms for patients will also become a reality with the government's £400 million spending on improving mental health facilities.

Sir Louis Appleby also spoke of the increasing demand for the mental health workforce as seen in the NHS mental health staff exceeding over 9,000 in number by the end of 2022.