Theresa May vows to cut suicide rates by enlisting companies and schools to mental health fight

CUTTING suicide rates will be among the priorities set out by Theresa May this week to improve support for mental illness sufferers.

She will also set out steps schools can take to identify and assist pupils affected by pressures of social media, sexting and exams.

And, in her first speech on health since becoming PM, she will say how employers can help staff forced to take time off due to mental health issues.

It is in response to a report by the NHS England mental health task force, which called for “parity of esteem” for sufferers of mental conditions.

A key element will be cutting suicide numbers. There were 6,188 in the UK in 2015. The number of women self-harming has also hit a high.

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One in four people every year develop anxiety, depression or other related conditions.

And 472,000 people have been affected by workplace stress in the past three years.

Mrs May listed shortcomings in mental health services as a “burning injustice” she wanted to address as PM.

But there will be no extra cash for services.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat’s shadow health secretary, said: “Now is the time for the prime minister to demonstrate that the government’s actions match the rhetoric.”

Luciana Berger, president of the Labour campaign for mental health, said: “The inadequacy of our mental health services is one of the most perilous challenges our NHS and country faces.

“It can only be solved by tangible change felt in every school, workplace and community.

“It is vital that the prime minister breaks the tradition of broken promises which has so far characterised her party’s approach to mental health.

“The focus needs to be on early intervention and prevention.”

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