Hannah Lewis - who campaigns for improvements to mental health services having suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a teenager - said that it can be a year before someone who is referred for help actually begins treatment.
Yesterday, it was announced that MP Jackie Doyle-Price would become the first suicide prevention minister.
He added: 'As a nation, we have taken steps to gain a greater understanding of mental illness - on that journey, it is fair to say that many of us might have slipped up and made comments that promote stigma, rather than to champion education about issues like suicide.' An estimated 20 people kill themselves each year by jumping off the Beachy Head cliffs in East Sussex.
It remains the leading cause of death for men under age 45, the Times reports.More news: Thierry Henry's new club revealed
A recent report by the National Audit Office found that even if current plans to spend an extra £1.4bn on mental health were delivered, there would be "significant unmet need" as a result of lack of staffing, poor data and a lack of spending controls on NHS clinical commissioning groups. "We can prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives".
"There is a long road to travel to get there".
The new role will head up a ministerial taskforce, working with experts in suicide and self-harm prevention, charities, clinicians and those personally affected by suicide.
May has also pledged more support for mental health services for children and young people, as well as funding for the Samaritans' helpline - a confidential 24/7 freephone service.More news: Crowds gather for second big royal wedding of the year
The government has also promised more support in schools, bringing in new mental health support teams and offering help in measuring students' health, including their mental wellbeing, reported BBC.
'In my time as health minister, I have met many people who have been bereaved by suicide, and their stories of pain and loss will stay with me for a long time, ' Doyle-Price said in a statement.
"Mental health services are still being underfunded by the Conservative government".
Mental health experts have welcomed the government's new initiative, while also urging ministers to put forward a comprehensive road map to ensure that the new funding and initiatives meet the demands of those in need.More news: Lady Gaga's open letter on mental health is a must-read
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