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  1. ITV Report

Nick Clegg calls on NHS to commit to 'zero suicides'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Deputy Prime Minister is calling on all NHS trusts to commit to a new ambition for "zero suicides" in the UK at a conference later today.

He will call for measures that have been pioneered in the US, such as introducing "personal safety plans" for those thought to be at risk.

"Suicide is, and always has been, a massive taboo in our society," Mr Clegg will say. "People are genuinely scared to talk about it, never mind intervene when they believe a loved one is at risk.

"That's why I'm issuing a call to every part of the NHS to commit to a new ambition for zero suicides.

Male suicide were more than three times higher than female suicides in 2012 Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The comments came ahead of a conference on mental health being held by the Liberal Democrat leader in central London on Monday.

He is expected to stress the large numbers of young men in the UK who takes their lives each year, saying that there would be a "national outcry" if it was a physical health problem.

  • There were 5,981 suicides in the UK in 2012
  • 4,590 of these were among men
  • The highest suicide rate is among men aged 40 to 44

(Source: Office for National Statistics)

The Liberal Democrat campaign aims to build on methods already being tested in Merseyside, the South West and East of England.

They are inspired by a programme pioneered at the Henry Ford Medical Group in Detroit which saw the suicide rate among its patients drop by 75% in four years.

It comes as Ed Miliband unveils a report calling for the NHS to invest more in tackling mental health problems among young people.

The Labour leader said young people were not being diagnosed early enough and cuts were undermining treatment, resulting in much higher costs in the longer-term.

Mr Miliband said: "It cannot be right that when three quarters of adult mental illness begins in childhood, children's mental health services get just six per cent of the mental health budget - nor that these vital services have been stripped back in recent years while £3 billion has been wasted on an NHS reorganisation.

"Labour will work to reverse the damage suffered by child mental health services under this Government."