More than 300 nurses have taken their own lives in just seven years

Shocking new figures have reavealed more than 300 nurses have taken their own lives in just seven years as the NHS is gripped by a mental health crisis.

During the worst year, one nurse died by suicide every week, The Mirror has revealed, with the families of victims calling for the government to do more to end a “bullying and toxic culture” in the health service which leaves them afraid to ask for help in their darkest moments.

One mum – whose trainee nurse daughter Lucy de Oliveira killed herself while juggling other jobs to make ends meet – told the paper: “They’re working all hours God sends doing a really important job. Most of them would be better off working in McDonald’s. That can’t be right.”

Lucy was left with just £6 to live on each month and worked at a pizza restaurant and a care home to make ends meet.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has called for a government inquiry into the “alarming” figures, saying “every life lost is a desperate tragedy”.

His call is backed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) which wants the Government and NHS do more to stop up to 54 nurse suicides a year.

RCN chief Dame Donna Kinnair said: “Nursing staff experience high levels of stress, a shortage of colleagues and long working hours. Our members repeatedly say their employers ignore or disregard mental health issues. They feel they ‘should cope’. We must all redouble our efforts to support nursing staff.”

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show 305 killed themselves over the seven-year period. The highest total was 54, recorded in 2014.

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