A renewed call for action across the borough to help eliminate suicide is the focus of a new strategy focused on suicide prevention.
Every suicide is a tragedy and for every life lost to suicide there can be more than 100 other people affected and impacted; this strategy makes a commitment to continue working together to reduce the number of suicides.
The St Helens Borough Suicide Prevention Strategy has been approved by St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet which outlines the work that has gone on to support residents over recent years, as well as set out further measures to continue to make an impact.
The strategy sets out five key themes which will lead the work which cover the areas:
· Leadership and governance
· Data, intelligence, evidence and research
These areas incorporate work such as continuing to work with partners across the borough and those impacted by suicide and self-harm, continuing training such as the free Zero Suicide Alliance course open to all residents, improving support for people who may need mental health help, bereavement support and reviewing patterns of incidents.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. The devastating loss is felt widely by family, friends and colleagues and communities who may feel that impact in their daily lives for many years. Although there has been some really good progress on reducing suicide in the borough, we need to continue this work.
There are still many challenges faced by our communities, such as the cost of fuel and daily living that mean we are seeing more and more people struggling to make ends meet.
“Six years ago St Helens had the highest rate of suicide in England, since then so much partnership work has gone on to support our residents get the right kind of help, and its clear that work is having a positive impact on reducing our rates now. But we can never be complacent which is why we have created this new suicide strategy to push further towards our ambition of being a place without suicide impacting on people’s lives.
“Support through projects like our Okay to Ask campaign which encourages us all to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide, breaking down the stigma of talking about our mental health and most importantly getting the right treatment if it is needed.
The strategy has some stark reading showing that there are a range of factors that result in some people feeling trapped and stressed. We are concerned that cost of living rises could make life more difficult. We know there are things we can and have done together to make a difference and we want to build on that.
Our partnership working will continue to focus on providing help for these groups of people and that relationship across organisations and community groups will be a firm foundation for the rest of the strategy.”
There is help and support available out there, including 24/7 crisis mental health support and a range of information, services and peer support available.
To find out more about support and advice visit www.okaytoaskcampaign.co.uk
For training on how to talk to someone feeling suicidal visit Free online training from Zero Suicide Alliance