During Prime Minister’s Questions, Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Elliot Colburn, shared his deeply personal experience with suicide, revealing that he had attempted to take his own life earlier this year. In a brave and poignant moment, Colburn aimed to convey a message of hope and remind those who may be struggling that help is available. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commended Colburn for his courage and assured him that the government takes the issue of mental health and suicide prevention seriously.
Colburn emphasized the urgency of addressing mental health and suicide prevention, highlighting the alarming statistic that approximately 6,500 people in the UK die from suicide each year. He expressed his gratitude for the care he received from St Helier and Springfield Hospitals, as well as the ongoing support from the NHS. Colburn also took the opportunity to apologize to his family and loved ones for the distress he caused them, acknowledging that in that moment, he felt isolated and frightened.
In response to Colburn’s revelation, colleagues from the Conservative Party offered their support, offering comforting gestures as he took his seat. Prime Minister Sunak thanked Colburn for sharing his personal story and reiterated the government’s commitment to reducing suicide rates through their new suicide prevention strategy. Sunak recognized the profound impact that suicide has on individuals and their families, pledging to do everything possible to prevent such tragic outcomes.
Following Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer approached Colburn, offering consolation and support. In an interview with Radio 4’s PM programme, Colburn revealed that he had only made the decision to share his story that morning. He hoped that by opening up about his own struggle, he could inspire others who may be contending with suicidal thoughts to seek assistance. Colburn had kept his battle private until his speech in the House of Commons, as he wanted to feel more secure before discussing it openly.
The courageous disclosure made by MP Elliot Colburn during Prime Minister’s Questions has shed a much-needed light on the importance of mental health and suicide prevention. His personal story serves as a poignant reminder that there is support available for those who are grappling with their mental well-being and that reaching out for help can make a significant difference. The response from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and fellow MPs reflects a collective dedication to addressing this pressing issue and working towards reducing suicide rates in the UK.