A series of activities is taking place as Wolverhampton marks World Suicide Prevention Day.

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Organisations across the city are encouraging people to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing - while also helping to tackle some of the stigma which surrounds the issue.

Nationally, there were 6,188 suicides recorded in 2015, with the highest rate among men aged between 40 and 44. Female suicide rates are currently at their highest level for a decade. In Wolverhampton, 66 people, mainly men, sadly took their own lives between 2013 and 2015.

The events taking place around World Suicide Prevention Day (Sunday 10 September) aim to get people thinking about their own mental health and wellbeing and that of others, and to highlight the help and support which is available locally.

They include a special walk around West Park on Sunday (10 September) led by Wolverhampton's Walking for Health scheme starting from the tea room at 10.30am, and a Five Ways to Wellbeing workshop open to the public which is being held at the Refugee and Migrant Centre on Tuesday (12 September) from 1pm to 3pm.

Wolverhampton Healthy Minds, the psychological therapies service for people experiencing common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress, is hosting free emotional wellbeing checks at the Phoenix Walk-in Centre in Parkfield Road, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Monday 12, 13 and 18 September and Central Library on Wednesday 14 September.

There will be a special workshop for members of the media and other organisations on best practice around reporting and covering cases of suicide. It takes place at Bantock House Museum on Tuesday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and the Wolves Community Trust have shown their support with players sending out a message to people to seek help and support when needed. Laura Cowley, from Wolves Community Trust, said: "Suicide impacts everyone but we know men are more vulnerable to taking their lives by suicide.

"With our Club, the Trust and players sending out strong messages of seeking support we hope our fans and people further afield take notice and seek help when they need it."

Meanwhile, members of Wolverhampton's pioneering HeadStart programme, designed to improve the health and wellbeing of 10 to 16 year olds, have recorded a podcast to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

It brought together a panel made up of Pooky Knightsmith, a national expert in child mental health, and a group of young people who work for HeadStart to discuss a range of issues related to how adults and organisations can support young people who are either experiencing suicidal thoughts or are at risk of doing so. To listen to the podcast, please visit Type=links;Linkid=9570;Title=HeadStart;Target=_blank;.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The council and its partners are committed to tackling stigma around mental health and discrimination.

"These activities are not only designed to raise awareness of the issues, but also highlight the help and support which is available to people who are going through a troubling period in their lives.

"The message is clear; if you or someone you know is in a dark place, don't suffer in silence - help and support is out there."

Samaritans' Wolverhampton provides confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. However, many of its calls are not about suicide, but from people who feel upset or confused and want to talk to someone.

James McCready, Branch Director, said: "People can contact us at any time of day or night. There are many ways to get in touch, including email and text, as well as by phone and visiting the branch to speak to a volunteer face to face."

For help and support, please contact Samaritans Wolverhampton on 01902 426422 or free on 116 123, visit its office at 54 Newhampton Road West, log on to www.samaritans.org or email jo@samaritans.org.

Wolverhampton Healthy Minds can be contacted on 0800 923 0222 or 01902 441856 or by emailing wolverhampton.healthyminds@bcpft.nhs.uk

PAPYRUS provides support for young people and for more details, please visit Type=links;Linkid=7468;Title=Papyrus;Target=_blank;, call 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.

  • released: Friday 8 September, 2017