DISABLED activists say the new “minister for suicide prevention” could leave herself “legally compromised” by her continuing failure to promise to warn local agencies that claimants of out-of-work disability benefits face a higher risk of taking their own lives.
Jackie Doyle-Price refused again this week to pledge to take the simple step of highlighting that claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) are a high-risk group, in the government’s suicide prevention strategy for England.
Disability News Service (DNS) revealed last December how NHS Digital’s Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey showed more than 43 per cent of ESA claimants had said (when asked in 2014) that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives, compared with less than seven per cent of adults who were not claiming ESA.
Doyle-Price, the minister for mental health, had “minister for suicide prevention” added to her job title earlier this month, with prime minister Theresa May claiming she wanted to “prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives”.
But the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) this week described the appointment of a suicide prevention minister as a “cynical PR stunt”.
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