Tory MP Sajid Javid, whose brother Tariq committed suicide, is calling for more action to combat the “stubbornly high” suicide rate.
He said: “It is an offence under the current Suicide Act to encourage or incite someone to kill themselves. But there’s a huge gap when it comes to covering digital communication.
“We were all reminded of that just last week with the coroner’s report into the tragic death of Molly Russell.”
Her father, Ian Russell, “had talked about it so powerfully – and so that needs to happen. But the Government’s taking too long.
“When I was home secretary, alongside Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, we introduced the White Paper on online harm, and here we are, four years later, nothing has happened.”
The ex-chancellor said yesterday that his family “just didn’t see it coming” when his eldest sibling, Tariq, committed suicide in 2018 at the age of 51.
“One day he was there, the next he was gone,” Mr Javid explained. “I keep wondering if there was anything I could have done to save his life.”
“There is a bit of a macho culture sometimes for men not to speak out,” he added. Mr Javid was talking to BBC Radio to mark World Mental Health Day.
More than 5,000 people committed suicide in the UK in 2021, with three-quarters of them being men. Mr Javid believes that in some cases, the stigma associated with mental health has prevented people from seeking help sooner.