MORE than 300 “overworked” NHS nurses have killed themselves in the last seven years, shocking new figures have revealed.
The “alarming” figures from the ONS have sparked a call from the Labour Shadow Health Secretary for an urgent enquiry.
Data shows 32 nurses died by suicide in 2017, after there were 51 deaths in 2016 and more than one a week in 2014.
The victims’ families are now demanding vital mental health training and support and calling for an end to the “toxic culture” in the NHS.
Lucy de Oliveira died aged 22 in 2017 after mounting work pressure pushed her to suicide.
During her training she was unpaid and relied on a bursary and second jobs to pay for food and accommodation, as she was left with £6 a month to survive on.
Lucy’s mum Liz de Oliveira told the Mirror: “They’re working all hours God sends doing a really important job.
“Most of them would be better off working in McDonald’s. That can’t be right.”
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost – to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes. And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet, it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun today launches the You’re Not Alone campaign. To remind anyone facing a tough time, grappling with mental illness or feeling like there’s nowhere left to turn, that there is hope.
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, over the course of this week, we will tell you the stories of brave survivors, relatives left behind, heroic Good Samaritans – and share tips from mental health experts.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others.
You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Mrs de Oliveira, 61, a criminal barrister, said a “toxic culture” means young nurses don’t ask for help as they’re afraid mental health issues will be a blot on their record.
She said: “There’s such a stigma about suicide.
“Maybe Lucy was worried that if people thought she was mentally unstable then she would lose her career.”
Mrs de Oliveira added: “We only found out after finding a note on her laptop after her death. If we had known I wouldn’t have let her go back to Liverpool – I would have got her the help she needed.”
Every life lost is a desperate tragedy. The health and wellbeing of NHS staff must never be compromised
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has called for an urgent government enquiry into the shocking figures, which are 23 per cent higher than the national average.
He said: “Every life lost is a desperate tragedy. The health and wellbeing of NHS staff must never be compromised.”
The call has been backed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and they’re asking the government and NHS to do more.
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RCN chief Dame Donna Kinnair said: “Nursing staff experience high levels of stress, a shortage of colleagues and long working hours.
“Our members repeatedly say their employers ignore or disregard mental health issues. They feel they ‘should cope’.
“We must all redouble our efforts to support nursing staff.’”
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