The government has launched a £5 million fund to support the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector on suicide prevention services.
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 years.
The support will be targeted at high-risk groups who have struggled most during the pandemic, such as people with a pre-existing mental illness, children and young people, NHS and social care staff who’ve faced enormous pressure over the last 18 months, and people in contact with the criminal justice system.
Read more: Government misses opportunity to protect patient care
‘I know the last 18 months have been really challenging and many more people have been asking for help with their mental health. I want to be clear: we are here to support anyone struggling - and if you need help, I encourage you to reach out,’ said Minister for Mental Health, Gillian Keegan.
‘The entire suicide prevention voluntary sector has played a crucial role in providing people with the help and support they need throughout the pandemic and I encourage them to apply for this funding so we can continue to support our communities.’
The funding will provide organisations with additional resource that will enable them to either set up new projects or expand or sustain current services to ensure people are supported. The other £1 million of the funding has been set aside to support existing and ongoing voluntary sector suicide prevention programmes.
Read more: Major reforms to NHS workforce planning announced
‘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,’ said Professor Louis Appleby, Advisor to the Government on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
‘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.’