Liz Twist MP has made her maiden speech in the House of Commons. In it, she shared the story of how her husband ended his life.
The Labour MP for Blaydon is calling for awareness of the risks involved when people face struggles such as job losses and poverty.
She shared her story of volunteering as a Samaritans listener and talked about the organisation's report 'Dying from Inequality'.
"Seventeen years ago, my husband, Charlie, ended his life by suicide. Many of you in this House will have been affected by suicide, but you only find out how many others have been affected when it happens to you. I do not ask for sympathy; I ask for your support for action to reduce the number of people who take their lives. I am glad to be a Samaritans listening volunteer, but we need deeds as well as words to prevent suicide." In March, Samaritans produced a report, “Dying from inequality”. To put it bluntly, a rigorous academic study has shown that suicide risk increases when people face unemployment, job uncertainty and poverty. These are the very problems faced by the constituents I have talked about and by many others. Two weeks ago, I had the chance to ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he planned to take in the light of this report, and he told me that he always listens to the views of Samaritans. I give notice that I will be pressing the Secretary of State for Health and other Government Ministers to take real action to tackle the causes that lead to too many people taking their own life. As Samaritans chief executive, Ruth Sutherland, said: “Each suicide statistic is a person. The employee on a zero hour’s contract is somebody’s parent or child. A person at risk of losing their home may be a sibling or a friend. And each one of them will leave others devastated, and potentially more disadvantaged too, if they take their own life. This is a call for us as individuals to care more and for organisations that can make a difference, to do so.” >