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Make the connection
World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 - September 10th
Social isolation can increase the risk of suicide. Offering support and friendship to someone who is feeling isolated could potentially be lifesaving.
Suicide is a major public health problem. The psychological pain that leads each of these individuals to take their own lives is unimaginable. Their deaths can leave families and friends devastated.
Each year, worldwide, over 800,000 people die from suicide - this corresponds to approximately one suicide every 40 seconds. The number of deaths lost to suicide each year exceeds the number of deaths lost to wars and murders combined. In the UK alone, more people die by suicide than are killed in road traffic accidents.
Suicides are not inevitable. There are many effective ways in which services, communities, individuals and society as a whole can help to prevent suicides. World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 aims to raise awareness of suicide. The theme this year is “Suicide Prevention. One World Connected”. Reflecting that connections are important at several levels if we are to combat suicide.
Connectedness – Is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and having strong human bonds is thought to be protective against it. Offering support and friendship to someone who is feeling isolated could potentially be lifesaving.
Connectedness – Can also be understood in terms of clinical care. Mental illness, particularly depression, is an important risk factor. Internationally, treatment for mental illness has improved, but access to these treatments seems unequal. Primary care, often the first port of call with mental illness, is not always able to diagnose and treat mental illness. Specialist mental health care providers are not always available, so referral options may not always be available.
Connectedness – and collaboration between services is also important at this level in preventing suicide. The right service/clinician must be available at the right time for someone with mental health problems.
Connectedness – Necessary at a national and international level. Many organisations are working to the goal of preventing suicide, but their efforts are not always synchronised. World Suicide Prevention Day has proved to be successful in encouraging organisations to co-ordinate their efforts and learn from each other.
How is Merseyside trying
to reduce suicides?
In June 2008 a Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Reduction Network was established by local Mental Health and Public Health suicide leads to share data and strategies aimed at reducing suicide rates. The group has sought to develop a common audit tool for the recording of suicides, engaging with local suicide leads in the understanding of hotspot analysis. They have worked to raise the issue of suicide and suicide reduction planning on a sub-regional footprint. The group is an example of good practice, with only a few others still in existence in the UK currently. There is a real opportunity to lead and set a national example of good practice here in Cheshire and Merseyside. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service are represented at Board Level and are able to influence local outcomes along with our partners from the Police, Ambulance service, Merseytravel, CALM and the Samaritans.
THe FacTS:
• Suicideisthefifthleadingcauseofdeathamong those aged 30 to 49 in 2012 globally.
• Suicideisthesecondleadingcauseofdeathinthe 15 to 29 age group in 2012 globally.
• Overall,itisestimatedthatduring2012,foreach adult who died of suicide, there were 27 others who made suicide attempts.
• In2012,suicideaccountedfor1.4%ofalldeaths worldwide, making it the 15th leading cause of death.
• Therewere5,981suicidesintheUKin2012,77%of them were male.
• Accordingtonationalandinternationalresearch,the total cost to society of suicide has been estimated as being £1,700,000 per case.
• Althoughthesuicideratehadbeenfallingsteadily across Cheshire and Merseyside since 2002, the latest data shows that Cheshire and Merseyside has seen an increase particularly between 2010 and 2012, accounting for 583 deaths, with one area, Knowsley, reporting rates as high as 13 per 100,000. The National Average is
8.5 per 100,000.
• SuicideratesinEnglandandWalesmaybe underestimated, as since 2001 narrative verdicts are increasingly being used, particularly in Liverpool.

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