May promises £1.8m to back Samaritans helpline

The money will be given to the charity over the next four years; the Prime Minister has also made health minister Jackie Doyle-Price the first Minister for Suicide Prevention

The Prime Minister has pledged £1.8m of funding for Samaritans’ helpline to mark World Mental Health Day.

Theresa May today announced the funding, which will be given to the charity over the next four years, alongside the announcement that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price had been appointed the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention.

In the year to March 2017, Samaritans was contacted by more than 5.7 million people seeking mental health support through its helpline, text, email, letter and face-to-face services, according to its annual report.

A statement from Downing Street said the new funding would "help ensure the charity can continue to provide immediate and life-saving support to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day".

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Samaritans, said the charity was "incredibly pleased" by the announcement.

"This new funding will meet about 10 per cent of the total helpline costs for the next four years," she said.

"This will help us make sure our life-saving service is always there for anyone who is struggling to cope."

She also welcomed Doyle-Price’s appointment, but called on the government to increase funding for mental health and suicide prevention.

"Every death through suicide is a tragedy and we now need to see funding for local services to prevent the unnecessary deaths we still see far too often," she said.

Samaritans was unable to confirm before publication of this story the process by which the funding was awarded.

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