11/09/2017 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Shropshire’s mental health partnership marks World Suicide Prevention Day with launch of new strategy

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Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin’s Suicide Prevention Network have today (Monday 11 September 2017) launched a new strategy to help those at risk of considering suicide or self-harm.

The launch marks World Suicide Prevention Day organised by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is held each year on 10 September.

World Suicide Prevention Day aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health issues. The World Health Organisation reports that over 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to murder and war combined. Suicide affects all types of people and communities and is associated with a wide variety of factors such as depression, alcohol and drug misuse, unemployment, family and relationship problems, social isolation and loneliness.

Between 2013 and 2015 there were 131 deaths formally recorded as suicide across Shropshire and Telford. These numbers are likely to be underestimated due to the legal necessities for categorising a suicide death.

Shropshire’s Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy aspires to prevent all deaths from suicide in the region and ensure access to the most appropriate help and support for those considering suicide and for those affected by suicide.

The strategy aims to:

  • Raise awareness of suicide risk, promote access to support services (including those bereaved by suicide) from a wide range of sources (not just health services)
  • Encourage more people to talk about self-harm, suicide and the risk factors associated with suicide in order to destigmatise and encourage people to seek help when they feel it is needed
  • Provide those who have a public-facing role to have confidence in signposting people affected by suicidal thoughts to the services that could best help them.

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, said:

“Suicide is a very sensitive and complex issue. There is no simple explanation for why someone chooses to take their own life and it is rarely due to one particular factor.  As members of communities, it is everyone’s responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling to cope with day to day life.

“Our region has a suicide rate similar to the national average: however, more work is needed to support those people who are at risk and those affected by suicide.

“Shropshire’s Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy seeks to address this and, through Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin’s Suicide Prevention Network, we will strive to prevent suicide at all ages. We will ensure those at risk or affected by suicide are signposted to and can access the support and agencies that they require at the right time.”

Councillor Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Children and Adults Early Help and Support, said:

“The two councils have worked very closely to put this strategy together with the aim of reducing instances of suicide in both areas.

“I hope that a more co-ordinated approach will enable us to reach out to those at risk and encourage people to talk about their feelings.”

For more information about Shropshire’s Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy visit http://www.shropshiretogether.org.uk/mental-health/.

Anyone needing support should call the Samaritans 24-hour support service on 116 123 or make an urgent appointment to see their GP. To access mental health services, in Shropshire call 0300 124 0365 or for Telford call 0300 303 1601 or visit http://mentalhealth.sssft.nhs.uk/.

Further information

  • Suicide is a complex topic and sensitivity is needed by the media when reporting about it. We would recommend that all journalists read the media guidelines produced by the Samaritans. They can be found here.
  • Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin’s Suicide Prevention Network is made up of the following organisations:
    • Shropshire Council
    • Telford and Wrekin Council
    • Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust
    • South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
    • Shropshire Community Health Trust
    • West Mercia Police
    • Shropshire Fire and Rescue service
    • West Midlands Ambulance service
    • Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group
    • Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group
    • Third and voluntary sector organisations
  • There is growing evidence of the association between self-harm and increased risk of death by suicide, even though many people who self-harm do not intend to take their own life.
  • Certain occupations are at greater risk from individual’s likelihood of attempting suicide which include doctors, vets and farmers.  There is therefore opportunity to reach people through support in the workplace.
  • Recent evidence from Public Health England suggests higher risk of suicide is higher in males with lower skilled occupations compared to the national average.  Males in labourer/construction roles have three times average risk, whereas those in skilled trades (such as plasters or painters) have double average risk.
  • Highest occupation risk of suicide for females is associated to the nursing profession and primary/nursery school teachers.
  • Both males and females working in culture, media, performance/entertainer or sports occupations have a higher than average risk of suicide.



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