Suicide and the aftermath is a difficult subject to cover. The aftermath is often the most difficult because it leaves family and friends left wondering if they could have done something. I have a first hand experience of dealing with suicide and attempted-suicide from my days in the military, and as a former member of a Coastguard Rescue Team.
In Cornwall the suicide rate is 9.2 per 100,00. This equates to among 50 and 70 deaths each year. In England the average is 7.9 deaths per 100,000. So, Cornwall is slightly above the English average, but from the information I have been provided it is coming down. The highest rates are seen in young to middle-aged men and older (>75yrs) men. I feel this area should be further investigated to look at the reasons why suicide is high.
A lot of partnership work is being carried out among various agencies to reduce the suicide rate. This is also an aim of the Local Area Agreement and is a strategic aim for NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. The strategy steering group included membership representing the PCT, CFT, Outlook South West, police, Local Authority (Supporting People), Coastline Housing and mental health service users.
The local authority working with other agencies has identified various hotspots which reveals that the cliffs on the north coast and the Tamar Bridge have been the site of several suicides.
To try to reduce suicides at these sites, local landowners are displaying notices with the Samaritans help line number. Network Rail is also displaying Samaritans posters at ‘hotspot’ stations. This is good work and no doubt this type of co-operation will help reduce the suicide rate.
My worry, is the continued budget pressures local authorities are facing from central government, any of this good work could be undermined if further cuts are handed down. Pressures are also being felt by other agencies who will also have to make difficult choices in funding options.
Let’s hope these cuts do not have an adverse effect on the current good work being carried out by the various agencies.
The number for the Samartians is 08457 90 90 90. Their website is HERE. Samartians are not just there to talk about feeling suicidal, but some other common reasons to call Samaritans are:
- Relationship and family problems
- Loss, including loss of a job, a friend or a family member through bereavement
- Financial worries
- Job-related stress or overwork
- College or study related stress
- Body image issues
- My advice is if you are feeling any pressure call them.
The Samartians are there to help, so call them.