People experiencing suicidal thoughts or approaching a crisis will be supported by a £5m boost to suicide prevention charities, following increased demand during the pandemic.
The suicide prevention Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) 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.
Recognising the increased pressures, the £4m grant fund will open next week for applications from VCSE organisations that support suicide prevention.
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.
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 £1m of the funding has been set aside to support existing and ongoing voluntary sector suicide prevention programmes.
This fund is on top of £10.2m already given to mental health charities over the course of the pandemic and will ensure that suicide prevention organisations can continue to provide support to all those who need it.
More widely, the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, backed by £500m, has ensured the right support is being offered to people with a variety of mental health conditions who have been impacted most by the pandemic.
£200,000 of the grant funding will also be ring-fenced specifically to help support small community groups and organisations which play a vital role in responding to local needs, ensuring communities up and down the country can access suicide prevention support.
Earlier this year, the Government published the latest progress report against the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, which included a refreshed cross-government suicide prevention workplan to reduce suicides as far as possible.
Professor Louis Appleby, Advisor to the Government on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, said, ‘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.
‘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.’
Visit the Government website to read about the breakdown of the mental health funding.
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