We need no Suicide Prevention Minister

The Government has announced a Minister for Suicide Prevention. NSUN member Madame Merteuil reacts to the news.

I’m a person who struggles with suicidality and the government has appointed a ‘suicide prevention minister’.
You’d think I’d be happy. Or at least willing to give this notion a chance. But no. I’m angry. I feel like this is adding insult to injury. Here’s why:

This appointment comes after eight years of savage welfare reforms, which have pushed many to suicide.
This appointment comes after the government refused to acknowledge that the aforementioned welfare reforms violate the fundamental rights of people living with disabilities, including those who regularly struggle with suicidality, like myself.

This appointment emerges from  years of  under funding where local support groups have been forced to close, leaving suicidal people without support. Even the NHS is obviously struggling.

This appointment comes with Brexit, which will take away the Charter of Fundamental Rights and presides over a climate of division and xenophobia, which can only trigger suicidal thoughts in a person like myself….I am after all an EU citizen living with ‘unseen’ disabilities.

This appointment comes after keeping me living in limbo for two years, presented with promises that my rights would be safe, but the latest brexit notices on Gov.UK do not even mention citizens rights.

So….after all that, I hear there is a ‘suicide prevention minister’.  And the person in the job has a track record of voting for welfare reforms. Mr Government, are you serious?!

Want to help prevent suicidality? How about this:

  • Rollback welfare reforms
  • Take United Nations advice into account when you deal with disabled communities (yes that advice given you when the UN told you that your welfare reforms were in breach of disability rights)
  • Stop brexit and all the uncertainty that comes with it (for citizens rights as well as for the economy)
  • Stop turning a blind eye to xenophobia ,racism and other forms of bigotry

I’m talking about leading by example. A government cannot tackle the more personal reasons that trigger suicidal thoughts in people. But it can certainly encourage a social climate that does not foster suicidality.