Joy Division members discuss suicide prevention in Parliament 42 years after Ian Curtis’ death – Reuters

MP Kerry McCarthy hosted a roundtable on May 18 at the Speaker’s House of the Houses of Parliament – Suicide Prevention: Breaking the Silence. She was accompanied by Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris of the band Joy Division/New Order and the suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).

Following the roundtable, chaired by Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, Mental Health Minister Gillian Keegan MP and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer MP also discussed their respective plans to reform the system of mental health.

Suicide should be considered a public health emergency in the UK, with 125 lives lost every week. In 2021, suicides reached their highest level ever, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

Tragically, 75% of all suicides are male, and it’s the biggest killer of men under 45. Despite this, mental health issues and suicide can be difficult to discuss and understand. Unlike other diseases, it is hidden from view. An inner and personal struggle for millions of people, many of whom fight it in silence.

And each suicide directly affects 135 friends, family and colleagues.

The panel discussed the current state of mental health in the UK, the cultural stigma surrounding suicide and the issues those with mental health issues face in accessing appropriate supportive treatment.

Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris discussed their own experience of suicide and whether the discourse and landscape has changed since the death of Joy Division bandmate Ian Curtis in 1980. Founder of Joy Division and label of New Order, Factory, the late Tony Wilson, was an early supporter of CALM.

Bernard’s more recent experience with children’s mental health services informed the discussion. The group said they wanted to come to Parliament to engage directly with MPs and reinforce the idea that mental health issues should be treated as seriously as physical health issues. All parties support this principle, but changes are needed to put it into practice.

With a new Mental Health Bill confirmed in last week’s Queen’s Speech, now is the time to seriously discuss what needs to be done to reform the mental health system and take action to save the thousands lives lost to suicide every year in the UK.

Leader of the Labor Party, MP Sir Keir Starmer: “The level of need is rising and we face nothing less than a mental health crisis in this country. This can and must change. We can’t do without it.

We must keep this commitment to make mental health as important as physical health. We have long talked about parity, but we are far from it.

It’s about our priorities. My priorities as a Leader. Putting parity of esteem for mental health into action. I believe it’s about treating people with basic respect.

Mental Health Minister Gillian Keegan MP said: “Suicide is a tragedy and devastates the lives of families and communities. I am committed to improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes and reducing suicide rates.

“Our mental health call for evidence will support the development of a new 10-year cross-jurisdictional plan for mental health and wellbeing, and we will be working with the suicide prevention sector over the coming year. to review the 2012 suicide prevention strategy and develop a new national suicide prevention plan.

“The action we will take over the next decade to support the mental health of the country will ultimately contribute to the prevention of suicide, both among people in contact with NHS services and among members of the community.

“Suicide is preventable. If anyone is in trouble, I urge them to seek help – the NHS is open 24/7 for anyone in crisis.

We are concerned about the loss of a minister dedicated to suicide prevention, which is why it is crucial that suicide prevention is at the center of the UK government’s plans. While mental health and suicide prevention organizations are more committed than ever to reaching those who need it most, we cannot do it alone, and lessons must be learned from the past. If we are to prevent what increasingly looks like impending mental illness. health crisis. »

Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris said: “We would like to thank everyone for coming together to discuss such a vital topic. We were very young when we lost our friend and bandmate in 1980. We ourselves and the times were unprepared to understand the complex issues involved to help him before it was too late. More than 40 years later, there is still a long way to go and mental health must be treated on an equal footing with physical health. If we can reach a person by talking about it, it will be worth it.