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Mental Health & Suicide Awareness & Prevention Charity

Major national strategy to reduce number of tragic suicides – news item,  summary and response by  SOS

Copyright,  Gov.UK/News.

*Launch of new national suicide prevention strategy.

*Pledge  to action from Government to reduce England’s suicide rate within 2 and a half years

  • Action to aid specific groups at risk of suicide, including children and young people, middle-aged men, autistic people, pregnant women, and new mothers
  • More than 100 measures being taken including a national alert system to combat emerging methods of suicide and refreshed guidance for first responders

Thousands more people approaching a crisis will get the support they so desperately need and fewer loved ones will go through the heartbreak of losing a friend or relative to suicide, as the government launches a new national strategy to rapidly reduce England’s suicide rate.

The Suicide prevention strategy for England: 2023 to 2028 delivers a firm commitment to see the number of suicides in England decrease within 2 and a half years at the very latest.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan sets out an ambition to grow the mental health workforce by 73% by 2036 to 2037, and the workforce already continues to grow to help cut waiting lists – one of this government’s top 5 priorities. In March 2023, there were almost 9,300 more mental health staff working than the previous year.

Over 100 measures have been outlined in the strategy aimed at saving lives, providing early intervention and supporting anyone going through the trauma of a crisis. This includes:

  • a new national alert system to notify relevant authorities – like schools, universities, and charities – of emerging methods of suicides and risks, and any required actions that can reduce access or limit awareness
  • fresh guidance issued to first responders, recognising new and emerging methods, and how such incidents should be dealt with
  • near real-time surveillance of trends in tragic suicides to be introduced on a national scale this year – enabling more timely and targeted actions
  • a government pledge to collaborate with countries around the world to target and stop suppliers of dangerous and lethal substances at the source

The government is committed to ensuring children and young people receive the mental healthcare they deserve. It is going further and faster to achieve that.

Tens of millions of children in schools across England will have access to a dedicated mental health support team by the end of March 2025, with at least half of school pupils set to receive such support. Mental health support teams intervene where a mild-to-moderate mental health issue is identified, and ensure children and young people are both protected and supported.

As part of its ongoing work with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), the government will explore whether regulatory change is required to decrease how many tablets like paracetamol can be sold to a customer or patient at once.

Change on a national scale is vitally important. Female deaths by suicide are heartbreakingly increasing at a higher rate than male deaths. It’s imperative such trends are captured as early as possible and preventative measures put in place to save lives.

In the UK, suicide is sadly the leading cause of direct deaths 6 weeks to a year after the end of pregnancy.

Unprecedented action is already being taken to improve the nation’s mental health and provide appropriate support:

  • a £150 million investment up to April 2025 to better support people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mental health crises. This will support the roll-out of mental health ambulances and delivery of over 160 projects – including alternatives to A&E – to ensure people can receive specialist care in appropriate spaces and help ease pressure on the NHS
  • the government has worked with big business, including online suppliers and manufacturers of certain potentially dangerous substances, to significantly reduce access to them, with major online suppliers also removing substances from sale to individuals

Reaction & Response from SOS Silence of Suicide to the new National Suicide Prevention Strategy


Like any charity or organisation supporting those with poor mental health, we know that consistent and quality care and support is vital for vulnerable individuals and not just when they are at crisis point – we need to reduce crisis point build up by more closely examining the socio-economic factors that may drive an individual to suicide, leaving families bereft and with no answers or understanding.  Suicides can be reduced and we all play a part in reducing the number of lives lost, and the families left behind.

Whilst SOS value and welcome the recent launch of the new national suicide prevention strategy, we know that despite the additional mental health staff already recruited and those planned to be recruited, the situation remains dire and many individuals feel ‘in limbo’ due to no contact or missed appointments.  Just how acutely are the Government aware of the failings to deliver quality mental health care, of patient’s not receiving a humane standard of care?  Just how deeply have they dug to get to the heart, and depth, of the real issues, the causations and the ongoing risk that some patients pose?  It is not just securing the staff, it’s securing the right staff, those with compassion and understanding, patience and kindness.  There is no doubt 99% of staff are doing brilliantly and we applaud them.  Not so everyone.

It is encouraging to see the MHRA in the arena as there is no doubt they can potentially play an important part of the roll out and effectiveness of the new strategy, particularly through the possible sale of drugs reduction.  However, I think we all agree, this option is certainly not fool proof and how will this be managed and effectiveness measured?

It may also be worth mentioning that monitoring of GP’s issuing of prescriptions for anti depressants, opiates and sleeping tablets should come under scrutiny.  From personal experience alone, we are aware that reviews are not conducted regularly, or at all, with one patient left on sleeping tablets for 15 years and high level opiates for 4 years.  These medications in themselves can cause disturbed thought processes and rapid addiction, which could lead to thoughts or acts of suicide and it would be encouraging to see research and investment into this area, with input from GPs themselves.

It’s also welcome news that specific high risk or potentially vulnerable groups are on the Government’s radar.  However, low risk groups today can become high risk groups tomorrow unless mental health care is implemented at very early stages.  Our children and grand children are the future and their physical and mental care must be better than that received by generations before.

Another high risk group of people are those with mental vulnerabilities who may present as drunk or under the influence of drugs.  There has to be more education and awareness, so that those who need medical attention are not thrown into the cells overnight for being incorrectly assessed.

As always, time will tell us the level of improvement created under the new strategy.  For now, charities such as SOS will continue their support of those who need help desperately, but cannot get it anywhere else.


Mental Health Matters

SOS SERVICES & 2023 Plans

With so many people struggling, let SOS help you with your mental health and wellbeing

Phone Support

Our telephone support line, for those struggling and/or in crisis, gives users the opportunity to call our fully trained and security checked volunteers between 8pm and midnight every evening and 4pm until midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.   Our number is:


0808 115 1505

Our volunteers support children aged 12 upwards , young people and adults

If we are busy or closed and you need help in a life threatening situation, call 999 immediately.

Group mental health meetings

During 2023, our highly regarded and well attended group meetings will be regular events which are free to the public.  Many of these events will cover Warwickshire and our local communities including Kenilworth, Stratford Upon Avon, Leamington Spa, Rugby, Warwick and Solihull, but also across the UK

Our meetings are spaces where people can feel safe, unjudged and free to speak and/or listen as they choose.

If you’re a local or national business who wishes to sponsor a meeting, please mail

Online Meetings

Crisis chat Re-starting in 2023

Anyone is welcome and they are free of charge, just like our face to face meetings.

You’re not obliged to give your name or even have your camera on – it’s a safe, confidential space for you to talk or listen as you prefer.

For updates on this service, please check our Events tab on our home page in the New Year


If anyone would like to sponsor our online meetings, please get in touch by emailing

Plans for 2023

SOS have grown steadily and strongly since becoming a charity in 2017.  We have remained determined to deliver a quality and consistent service that benefits everyone who needs us.

Our exciting and ambitious plans for 2023 are energising everyone at the charity.  From more community based engagement programmes, to delivery of bespoke training courses, to extending our helpline and converting to a freephone line, there is a lot to be excited about.

Keep an eye on our website and be first to see the announcements as they appear.


Mental Health Matters

Our vision is to help drive a reduction in suicide rates by working with organisations, charities,  individuals and communities, offering support,  guidance & empowerment to those in need, or in crisis,  whilst reducing the shame, stigma and silence that is all too prevalent in society

We will continue to play our part in aiming to reduce suicide rates across the UK

2023 will be a year of significant progression and change for SOS.  We have very ambitious and exciting plans that will affect everyone we support for the better.  

We have a new investing partner coming on board, and we will also be opening our first ever SOS Hub – a place of safety and company for anyone who’s vulnerable.

We’ll be expanding into local communities, aiming to work with displaced and disadvantaged people, as well as turning our standard rate phone line into a freephone number.  That, along with bespoke training courses unique to SOS and our desire to increase our phone line hours along with our free face to face meetings means there should be a type of support to suit everyone.

Please check this website for updates in the New Year.

Charities are doing an amazing job supporting as many people as possible.  But with stretched resources and clinical expertise  and resources not necessarily available within charities, it is essential that access to the right NHS services which offer continuity and consistency have increased funding and staffing.

More money needs to be allocated towards mental health; not just that, it’s important that the right, fully trained and dedicated clinicians are available to those who need them.

Waiting lists are currently too long and for some, too late.  Poor mental health and feelings of suicide do not go away over night and patients deserve help when they need it, not when the system decides to give them long overdue access.

This country should, and could, be doing much better in the adequate provision of mental health care

Get behind your local, smaller charities who are struggling to support increasing numbers of vulnerable children and adults due to the lack of appropriate services and the ‘heat or eat’ crisis currently hitting huge numbers of people and families throughout the UK

Every day at SOS we are contacted by people who are struggling, those who are bereaved and those who have been waiting for the appropriate assessment and care for far too long.  For some, access to care comes too late.

This is not a criticism of those who work within the NHS – they work tirelessly and often without thanks doing one of the most demanding jobs there is.  But just like the population, they are tired.  We are all tired of the failures to address and implement proper care within the NHS system.  Mental health is just one of the areas of concern, but it appears to be one of the least invested in, as always, the one that ‘can wait’.  The structure is broken.

Luckily, charities are here to help support people let down by the system, people who feel they have nowhere to turn, who need help because there problems are too large and complex to handle by themselves.

We want to hear your stories, particularly if you feel you have been let down, forgotten abandoned or not treated with the level of compassion and humanity you deserve.

Our aim is to put a collection together that can be utilised to put pressure on Government and NHS Trusts to put mental health patients at least on an equal footing to other patients.  People talking about their lived experiences, whether they are in the past or ongoing, whether it’s about themselves or someone they know, all of these experiences are important and should be catalogued.

If you’d like to help with our project, please email in the strictest confidence to and we will get back to you.

Spring Budget 2023 and useful links to information


How much was mental health support and provision mentioned in the budget, and, more importantly, how much, and when, has any additional funding going to find its way into service delivery for the vulnerable?

SOS, like many others welcome the injection of £100 million for the VCSE sector and, to allow the VCSEs to remain active in suicide prevention, an extra £10million pounds will be provided over the next 2 years.

Chronic underfunding relating to mental health services has to stop. Now.  We welcome positive action, but warn about complacency that £100 million will be enough.  It will not.  It pours into a bottomless pit and we need to do better to support vulnerable children and adults when need  it.

As far as helping those with a disability, or physical or mental health challenges, there are positive attempts to address some of the issues.  However, this cannot be applied wholemeal.  Everyone’s disability or mental/physical health challenge and status is unique to them.  One size does not fit all.

Furthermore, the work coaches available at job centres for people to speak too, should also be replicated in work places as an additional, and continuous line of support for those who need it.  It will also help employers who may struggle to understand certain disabilities or mental health challenges and behaviours.

Read all about mental health and the Spring Budget by reading the Disability White Paper

You might also want to take a look at facts and figures on the NHS Mental Health Board

Finally, you can read about personal health budgets which contains useful information

We wrote not long ago about the need for a philanthropic revolution and given the huge black holes in medical provision, continuous professional care and access to immediate care, now really is the time for philanthropists to come to the rescue so people really can get the quality of care they need, when they need it, not after waiting for months or sometimes years.



Yvette Greenway CEO SOS Silence of Suicide
Yvette Greenway
Michael Mansfield KC, SOS Lead Trustee and Human Rights Barrister
Michael Mansfield
Mental Health and Suicide Awareness
Lorna Hackett
anthony cash
Anthony Cash
Robert Rinder SOS Ambassador
Robert Rinder
Lorraine Kelly SOS Ambassador
Lorraine Kelly
Hugh Quarshie SOS Ambassador
Hugh Quarshie
Wendy Turner Webster SOS Ambassador
Wendy Turner-Webster
Gary Webster SOS Ambassador
Gary Webster
Maxine Peake SOS Ambassador
Maxine Peake
John-Junior-300x255-1-e1658265923303 (1)
John Junior
Rob Harkavy SOS Ambassador
Rob Harkavy
Amy Christophers SOS Ambassador
Amy Christophers
Peter Devlin SOS Ambassador
Peter Devlin
James Harknett SOS Ambassador
James Harknett
Lady Colin Campbell
Emma Kenny SOS Trustee
Volunteer Recruitment and Wellbeing
Erica Scott
SOS Advocate for Volunteering
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