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UK appoints first ever minister for suicide prevention

Press Trust of India  |  London 

For the first time, the UK will have a for to reduce the number of people who take their own lives.

The move, intended to tackle the tragedy of 4,500 people taking their own lives in England each year, comes on World Mental Health Day.

British Prime said the appointment of to the additional role will help tackle the stigma surrounding

"We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence. We can prevent the tragedy of taking too many lives. And we can give the mental wellbeing of our children the priority it so profoundly deserves," May said in a statement.

"We are not looking after our health if we are not looking after our mental health. So we need true parity between physical and mental health and not just in our but in our classrooms, workplaces and communities too," she said.

The new portfolio, Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, will involve leading a new national effort on

Around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England and suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45. In her new role, Doyle-Price will lead government efforts to cut the number of suicides and overcome the stigma that stops people seeking help.

"I understand how tragic, devastating and long-lasting the effect of suicide can be on families and communities," said Doyle-Price.

"In my time as I have met many people who have been bereaved by suicide and their stories of pain and loss will stay with me for a long time. It's these people who need to be at the heart of what we do and I welcome this opportunity to work closely with them," she said.

As part of other measures announced by the to mark World Mental Health Day, new funding of up to 1.8 million pounds will help ensure the charity helpline remains free and can continue to provide immediate and lifesaving support to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day.

"We welcome the government's announcement of funding towards Samaritans' helpline, which will meet around 10 per cent of the total helpline costs for the next four years and help us to continue to provide our service free of charge," said

"20,000 volunteers are available at any time for anyone who is struggling to cope. We respond to more than five million requests for help a year," she added.

The has also promised more support in schools, bringing in new mental health support teams and offering help in measuring students' health, including their mental well-being as part of the new initiatives.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 19:45 IST