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In an effort to overcome stigma and address mental health issues, the U.K. appointed a new minister for suicide prevention on Wednesday, which also marked World Mental Health Day, the New York Times reports.
Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price will be charged with ensuring mental health remains a top priority as the National Health Service receives new funding.
“We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence,” Prime Minister Theresa May said while announcing the new position. “We can prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives. And we can give the mental well-being of our children the priority it so profoundly deserves.”
While suicide rates have dropped in recent years, about 4,500 people take their own lives annually in England, according to government research. It remains the leading cause of death for men under age 45, the Times reports.
“In my time as health minister, 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,” Doyle-Price said in a statement. “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, as well as experts, to oversee a cross-government suicide-prevention plan, making sure their views are always heard,” she said.
May also announced additional funding for the Samaritans’ help line, a confidential 24-hour suicide hotline.