Every suicide can potentially be prevented.
That’s the ethos behind a new campaign to dramatically reduce suicide rates in West Yorkshire launched by organisations including Kirklees and Calderdale NHS groups.
The zero suicide approach treats all suicides as preventable and has been signed up to by councils and volunteer organisations as well as healthcare providers across the region.
In 2015 Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest suicide rate in England and although this decreased slightly in 2016 it remains above the national average.
Mike Doyle, NHS regional lead for suicide prevention, said: “The most important part of this collaboration is the view that suicide can be prevented.
“It should no longer be seen as an inevitable outcome for people, but as something we can work together to successfully avoid.”
The plan brings GPs, social workers and community support workers together to identify those at risk of suicide earlier and intervene before it is too late. The target is to reduce suicide rates by 10% across West Yorkshire and by 75% in targeted areas.
Mike Doyle added the collaborative approach would encourage openness around a subject that can sometimes be seen as taboo.
He added: “This new way of working is all about creating a culture where everyone can talk about their mental health without fear, embarrassment or judgement and where everyone comes together to support people so that suicide is avoided.”
The plan has already shown success internationally and has attracted the support of sports personalities such as ex-rugby league player Danny Sculthorpe.
On Tuesday, Danny spoke about his experiences living with mental health problems at the campaign’s regional launch in Wakefield.
Are you struggling? Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need to talk, call them on 116 123.