News ID: 209914
Published: 0918 GMT February 13, 2018

Tackling poverty in Wales a must

Tackling poverty in Wales a must

Poverty in Wales must be tackled urgently if the high number of suicides in deprived areas is to be lowered, according to Samaritans Cymru a non-profit organization in Cardiff, Wales

It said better help was key for those in debt and the Welsh government needed an action plan to reduce poverty, BBC wrote.

It said suicide rates were up to three times higher in deprived neighborhoods compared with affluent areas.

The Welsh government said it had made good progress in recent years promoting economic growth and tackling poverty.

The charity said each year between 300 and 350 people died by suicide in Wales, which is around three times the number killed in road accidents.

It is the most common cause of death for men aged 20 to 49 and the leading cause of death of people under 25.

Alongside this, almost a quarter of the Welsh population — some 23 percent — live in poverty, which costs £3.6 billion a year, a fifth of the Welsh government's budget.

The charity's research found that as deprivation increases, so does suicidal behavior.

It also found hospital admissions following self-harm was twice as high in deprived areas compared with the most affluent, while suicide risk increased with unemployment.

Samaritans Cymru said ministers needed to tackle the problem by developing a Wales Poverty Strategy, adding the action plan was of ‘critical importance’.

It also called for better public information to help reduce unmanageable debt, better support for those bereaved by suicide and investment in community groups to tackle loneliness and isolation.

"There is now overwhelming evidence of a strong connection between socioeconomic deprivation and suicidal behavior in Wales," said Sarah Stone, the charity's executive director for Wales.

"Suicide is not inevitable; there are actions we can take so that difficult times do not result in people dying."

The Welsh government said Wales had achieved historically low rates of economic inactivity and unemployment.

A spokesman said: "In December the economy secretary launched the economic action plan which is grounded on the principle that well-paid work is the best route out of poverty and seeks to increase the availability of good-quality jobs and empower communities with the skills and infrastructure that can support better jobs closer to home."

He said the plan tied Welsh government financial support to the ‘availability of fair work’ and outlined ‘a new model of regional economic development that brings partners together to support inclusive growth in all parts of Wales’.

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