MPs called on the government yesterday to act over the “unacceptably high” levels of suicides in Britain.
A report from the Commons health select committee revealed that there were 6,188 deaths by suicide in Britain last year with 4,820 of those in England alone.
Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland said that people are dying because suicide prevention is not being prioritised.
She said: “Every six seconds someone contacts Samaritans for help. This report should serve as a wake-up call to the government.”
The MPs have also recommended more training for GPs in assessing those at risk of suicide and slammed the lack of support for patients once they are discharged from hospital or other psychiatric services.
The current suicide prevention strategy drafted in 2012 was criticised for “inadequate leadership, poor accountability and insufficient action.”
Committee chairwoman Dr Sarah Wollaston MP warned that the true figure of deaths by suicide is likely to be higher.
She commented: “Suicide is preventable and much more can and should be done to support those at risk.”
Mental health charity Mind director Sophie Corlett welcomed the report and its recommendations. She said that the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics “tell us that suicides are still rising year on year, which is hugely concerning … Suicides are not inevitable, they can be prevented, with the right support in place.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that it was investing £1billion in services that they are “confident will address many of the issues raised by the committee.”