Salford has a higher suicide rate than the rest of the UK on average, with three-quarters of those affected being men. Now the borough’s Suicide Prevention Partnership is taking action to end that.

The most recent health profile released by Public Health England has revealed that Salford has a higher suicide rate than the UK average. Between August 2012 and July 2015 (the last on record) there were 81 instances of death by suicide in Salford at a local value of 13.1, considerably higher than the national average value of 10.1.

Latest reports also show that Salford ranks in the top 5 highest percentage in terms of depression and anxiety prevalence with 19%. So what is being done about the high rates of mental health problems and suicides in the city?

Salford’s most influential groups and organisations have come together to form the Suicide Prevention Partnership, with the aim of reducing the number of victims in the City. The organisation is made up of a number of different groups, including the Clinical Commissioning Group, Salford City Council, Salford Royal Hospital and Salford fire and police departments.

Judd Skelton chairs the Suicide Prevention Partnerships and he believes that reaching out to men and getting them talking would be a big step in the right direction.

“Nationally middle aged men tend to be the highest [at risk] group. Men make up around three-quarters of the number of people who have died by suicide, and Salford is no different in that respect.That’s one of the key groups of people that we have identified that we need to reach out to.

“Men aren’t great talking about feelings. Men aren’t great about going to see the doctor about their physical health. We know we’ve got a bit of a challenge there with men in general”

“We are starting to think about where men go when they do open op and where do mean go where they have to talk. When you are getting your haircut you end up chatting to the barber, when you go the local pub you have a conversation with your landlord. So should we be doing some basic skills training with barbers, landlords, bookies, tattooist’s and physios in those places where men go to regularly, build up relationships and are engaged in conversation.

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“If we think about the public health campaigns over the last ten or fifteen years like the time to talk campaign, that’s been very much a generational shift. Really having to put some strong messages out their that it is okay to talk about our mental well being and trying to reduce the stigma around mental health so that we can get to a place where mental health is talked about as openly as physical health.”

Mr Skelton also discussed the fact that the suicide rate is higher in Salford than the national average, however he feels these numbers are not a big concern and that the suicide prevention partnership is working to reduce them.

“We’re talking about relatively small numbers. 23 suicides last year in Salford, so it only takes two or three to move it up or down. Obviously Salford is an area with significant health inequalities, significant socio-economic disadvantages and higher unemployment than some areas, all those are factors that could result in someone taking their own life.

“The aim that we have in Salford is the national target of 10% reduction and we will work towards that, but our overall approach is that 0 is what we want. We have to have 0 as our target. We have to be aiming for a 0 suicide rate, and until we get to that we have much more work to do.”

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Listen to the full interview from Judd Skelton below.

 

Support is always available from Salford City Council. They tweeted on Suicide prevention day, offering their support for sufferers of mental health problems, as well as trying to eliminate the stigma that goes with it.

— Salford City Council (@SalfordCouncil) September 13, 2018

For more information on how to get help, visit the Salford Clinical commissioning group’s website, and remember, it’s okay to talk.

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