Mental health campaigner, from the Reach Out Campaign, has called for patients in a primary care setting to be asked about their mental health and well-being in order to prevent suicide figures rising further.

Dennis Baldwin, communications leader at START based at Brunswick House in Salford said “when patients are identified as having mental health problems, it should trigger a personalised safety plan.

“So if they are in trouble they should know where to go for support, I would like this to be mandatory within primary and secondary care”.

START offer a number of activities in the centre, from art to bingo they hope to discourage social isolation and lower suicide figures through the support they offer.

Andy Burnham at SHOUT

But , volunteers are left feeling angered by the lack of funding from the government despite promises to increase funding in recent years.

“They have been promising for a number of years to bring mental health funding up to the same as general health, but we are not seeing that come through”, said Dennis.

“Funding is a massive obstacle to overcome”.

Despite funding being short, START have launched a new project called ‘Reach Out- Start to End Suicide’, encouraging the people of Salford to speak out and help others they think may be showing signs of contemplating suicide.

The group have gone around Salford and asked residents to make pledges on how they are going to help people, creating the ‘Sea of Hands Support’ at Brunswick House.

‘The Sea of Hands Support’ is supported by the Big Lottery, it represents that START are there to reach out to them and to be reached out to. The group hope to change save lives and build a resilience within the community to end the stigma that comes with talking about mental health.

“We’re starting the conversation for people to talk about suicide and trying to make people aware of the warning signs”, said Dennis.

With suicide being the biggest killer in men aged fifty and under, START give signs on what to look for in anybody who may be concerned about a loved one or acquaintance.

What to look out for: 

  • Social isolation or withdrawal from society
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Signs of self-loathing

Action to take:

  • Speak to people so they know they have someone to talk to
  • Listen without judgement
  • Offer encouragement to take action

Salford City Council are working with many other organisations like START, to end suicide rates in the area through their Salford Suicide Prevention Strategy.

“There needs to be a united front from ourselves and the council”, said Dennis.

START are currently working with Salford City Council to build a memorial for those who have died due to suicide. It is looking to be at Peel Park in Salford.

To get involved with START and more information about the Reach Out Campaign visit: 

More information about Salford’s suicide prevention stratergy:

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