Thank you to those who contacted me about self-harming and suicide.
It is extremely distressing to hear reports of anybody self-harming, or considering taking their own life, and it is particularly so when that is a young person.
A recent Global Burden of Disease study showed that the top five causes of early death for the people of England are heart disease and stroke, cancer, respiratory conditions, dementias, and self-harm. These findings helped to frame the improvement priorities in the NHS Long Term Plan, published in 2019. As part of this, the NHS is working to design an new Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme which will focus on suicide prevention and reduction for mental health inpatients. In addition, specialist community teams are being established to provide additional support for adults with severe mental illnesses and for individuals who self-harm.
With a £2.3bn a year uplift in funding for mental health services by 2023/24, I am also pleased to see that the NHS Long Term Plan will specifically ensure more support for young people’s mental health, including providing NHS funded mental health services and school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams to an additional 345,000 children and young people by 2023/24. Within the next ten years, the goal is to ensure that 100 per cent of children and young people who need specialist care can access it.
By 2023/24, NHS 111 will be the single, universal point of access for people experiencing mental health crisis; alternative forms of provision will also be provided for those in crisis, including non-medical alternatives to A&E and alternatives to inpatient admission. Reducing suicides remains an NHS priority over the next decade.
I welcome the work being carried out by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention on the support available for young people who self-harm, particularly in view of self-harm as a major risk factor for future suicide among young people.