THERESA MAY’S announcement today – World Mental Health Day – of a new Minister for Suicide Prevention is a welcome step.

About 4,500 people take their lives every year in England and suicide remains the leading cause of death among men under the age of 45, so it is crucial that there is a voice right at the heart of the government leading efforts to reduce this rate. Initiatives like mental health teams being attached to schools to work with young people are also a positive change, especially with the growing pressures on children from social media and the internet.

However without extra investment and fuller mental health care reforms, it is hard to see how the new minister can be effective.

On Tuesday, the National Audit Office reported that even if current plans to spend an extra £1.4bn on mental health services for children and young people are delivered, there will still be “significant unmet need” due to issues including staff shortages and poor data. The report found only a quarter of young people who require mental health services are able to access help from the NHS.

Providing young people with both emotional resilience and coping strategies for the tough times is vital, as is early intervention backed up by easily accessible support for those experiencing poor mental health.

This would require a significant financial commitment, but equally important is the switch in focus. Unless every day is mental health day, not just October 10, real change will prove difficult to achieve.