One suicide takes place every month in South Tyneside

Kathy McKenna Training Manager Suicide Prevention Co-ordinator at Washington Mind raising awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day
Kathy McKenna Training Manager Suicide Prevention Co-ordinator at Washington Mind raising awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day

One person a month on average in South Tyneside takes their own life, according to new figures.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day – a chance for campaigners to put the issue firmly into the spotlight and reach out to those who are either contemplating taking their own life or supporting someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

“If you think someone you know is contemplating suicide, one of the most important things you can do is to talk to them about how they feel and be there to listen.”

Stephen Buckley

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds with children even younger also being affected by suicidal thoughts.

According to data from Public Health England 26 men and nine women, aged 15-74, in South Tyneside took their own lives between 2012 and 2014. This is equal to 52.2 and 14.5 respectively per 10,000 people – above the national average of 50.2 and 13.7.

Tonight, people across the borough are being asked to light a candle at 8pm in a show of support for suicide prevention and to remember a lost loved one.

Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at mental health charity Mind, said: “We lose 6,000 people a year to suicide in the UK and every one is a tragedy. Not all suicides are mental health-related but the majority are and we know that often people struggle in silence because they find it difficult to ask for help.

“If you are feeling suicidal, talking to family and friends can make a real difference. Just telling someone about suicidal feelings can be a relief, and might be a good first step towards getting help. Friends and family can be there for you emotionally, but also help you think about what you need to keep yourself safe and get support.

“If you think someone you know is contemplating suicide, one of the most important things you can do is to talk to them about how they feel and be there to listen. You may feel pressure ‘to say the right thing’, but just being there and listening in a compassionate way is vital to helping that someone feel less isolated and frightened.”

As part of the ongoing work around suicide prevention, Washington MIND is providing training courses to give people the skills to tackle the issue of suicide head on and the confidence to be there for someone who, behind the scenes, could be contemplating taking their own life.

A LIFE worth living - Suicide prevention– looks at applying and practising the LIFE model – Listen actively. Ask the question; Identify risk; Find coping resources; Enable professional support – for suicide prevention.

Anyone feeling suicidal and unable to talk to someone they know, should call their GP, call 999, or call the Samaritans on 116 123.