World suicide prevention day: Men talking more the key to reducing suicide rates in Bradford

Published on 07/09/2017 at 08:00am

Encouraging people to talk about their anxieties and worries, and seek help if they need to, is a key part of efforts to cut suicide rates in Bradford by health organisations in the district.

Bradford Council is raising awareness of the issue ahead of world suicide prevention day.

It also comes as Bradford Council launches a new campaign to offer support to people at who need support during time of crisis which encourages them to talk about their problems.

Credit card sized cards are being distributed to GPs and other health workers to give them tips on how best to start a conversation with someone who they are concerned about.

Nationally, men are three times more likely to take their own life than women. They are also less likely to share their problems and seek help for poor mental health. Because of this, the Samaritans promote the #itsoktotalk hashtag on social media.

Between 40 and 50 people die each year through suicide in Bradford and the rate of 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people is above the national average.

However, suicide is preventable and it is not an inevitable act: the vast majority of people who do have thoughts about taking their life are able to find help and support, and go on to happier, mentally healthier lives.

If someone does experience suicidal thoughts, they should contact their GP for a conversation about how they can be best supported.

If they feel they are in a crisis, Bradford’s First Response service offers support for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis across the district: 01274 221181. They can also get support from the Samaritans online or by calling 116 123 on any type of phone, a free and totally confidential service.

Cllr Val Slater, deputy leader and portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We can all play our part in helping to improve the mental health of the district.”

“Talking about your mental health isn’t strange or wrong – it’s an important first step in being able to resolve the issues you face and finding help.

“Taking a few minutes to listen to family, friends or work colleagues concerns can really be a significant help which can often guide them find their own solutions.

“We are working with our health partners across the NHS and voluntary sector to raise awareness of the importance of listening to people’s concerns and aim to reduce the number of men in the district who attempt to take their own life.”

Dr Angela Moulson, a local GP with a special interest in mental health, encourages anyone who is feeling suicidal to ask for help. She said: “There’s lots of help available for people living in Bradford and Airedale, including from their GP surgery, the First Response Service, and from the safe spaces provided by our excellent voluntary and community services.

“If you are feeling down, seek help early to help improve your mood and prevent further deterioration in your wellbeing. And if you are worried about someone else, ask them how they are feeling and encourage them to seek help – you could save a life.”