UK government launches new strategy to drive down suicide rates

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As LGBT campaigners mark World Suicide Prevention Day, Health Minister Norman Lamb says the government will increase its efforts to reduce the number of deaths in England.

Statistics from the Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) show LGBT people are still at greater risk from suicide and mental health problems compared to heterosexuals.

At least 1 in 5 lesbians have attempted suicide and the LGF says the suicide rate for gay youngsters is up to three times higher than for their heterosexual peers.

Figures from Stonewall’s School Report of 2012 paint an equally grim picture.

The charity says 16% of gay and bisexual boys have attempted suicide and 57% have thought about taking their own life in the UK.

High rates of suicide in the LGBT community remains a global issue, last week a study in Israel showed 20% of gay youngsters surveyed had undertaken suicide attempts – 112 times the rate of the general population.

Earlier today, Health Minister Norman Lamb said although the suicide rate for England had fallen in the past decade, on average one person kills themselves every two hours.

The Lib Dem MP said the government would be providing up to £1.5m to fund research and aiming for support networks, such as the Samaritans, to work more closely with other organisations in order to share best practice.

The government is also promising to put more pressure on the internet industry to help stop youngsters accessing suicide-related websites.