THERESA May will today announce the appointment of the UK Government’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention as she marks World Mental Health Day.

Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price will take on the new role. She will lead a new push on suicide prevention, bringing together a ministerial taskforce and working with national and local government, experts in suicide and self-harm prevention, charities, clinicians as well as those personally affected by suicide.

The Prime Minister will also announce new UK Government funding for the Samaritans’ helpline and a pledge to publish from 2019 an annual “state of the nation” report on young people’s mental wellbeing.

Today also sees the launch of the Government’s new campaign to train a million people in mental health awareness: Every Mind Matters.

This week the first ever Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit takes place in London, attended by ministers and representatives from more than 50 countries as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Speaking at a Downing Street reception to mark World Mental Health Day this afternoon, Mrs May will say: “When I first became Prime Minister, I stood on the steps of Downing Street and pledged to fight the burning injustices in our society.

“There are few greater examples than the injustices facing those with mental health conditions. But together we can change that.

“We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence. We can prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives. And we can give the mental wellbeing of our children the priority it so profoundly deserves.”

The PM will point out how she has made parity of care a priority for her Government’s long-term plan for the NHS.

“As a result, our record investment in the NHS will mean record investment in mental health. We are not looking after our health if we are not looking after our mental health.

“So we need true parity between physical and mental health – and not just in our health systems – but in our classrooms, workplaces and communities too,” Mrs May will add.

In England, around 4,500 people take their own lives each year and suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45.

In Scotland, a total of 680 people killed themselves in 2017, a rate of 12.5 per 100,000, which is largely unchanged over the past four years with an overall downward trend in recent times. In 2016, there were 728 probable suicides in Scotland; an eight per cent rise on the previous year. Most of those who take their own lives north of the border are men; 71 per cent in 2016.

In August, the Scottish Government set a target of reducing the nation's suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2022. The announcement came after the Samaritans claimed the SNP administration was not treating the issue as a top priority.

The PM will say that the Samaritans’ helpline in England will remain free for the next four years with support from the UK Government. New funding of up to £1.8 million will help ensure the charity can continue to provide immediate and lifesaving support to anyone who needs it; 24 hours a day.