Communities invited to help reduce suicide in Cornwall

An event to help reduce the number of deaths by suicide in Cornwall is being held this week.

Residents, community leaders, volunteers and anyone with an interest in mental health, or whose lives have been touched by suicide, are invited to attend the free event at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro on Wednesday 12 September at 9am.

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Positive multi agency work to reduce suicides here has seen a drop in the number of deaths by suicide in 2017 (64). However, the rate per 100,000 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is consistently higher than the national average. Those who attend the event will have the opportunity to learn about suicide risk and prevention, and to contribute to the planning and implementation of local activities to help reduce the risk of suicide.

Mental health experts and community leaders in Cornwall, who are part of an initiative called Towards Zero, have put the event together to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

It is being hosted by Cornwall Council, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) and is funded by the Duchy Charity.

The key speakers for the event are from State of Mind, a group of ex-rugby league players who promote positive mental health among sportsmen and women, fans and wider communities. 

They work to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing and deliver education on the subject to all levels of sport, business, education and community groups. 

Dr Ellen Wilkinson Medical Director for Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust said: “Every death by suicide is one too many. In Cornwall, a number of factors contribute to the issues we face, including unstable incomes dependant on agriculture, fishing and tourism.

“One reason people take their own lives is because they don’t want to talk about mental distress. Together, we as a community can make a difference, and not just take a medical treatment approach.”

Dr Ruth Goldstein, Public Health Consultant Cornwall Council’s Wellbeing and Public Health team said: “Every single death by suicide is a tragedy, and for every individual whose life ends in this way there are many families, friends and community members whose own lives are impacted.

“We are pleased to start seeing a reduction in the number of deaths by suicide in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, but our aim is for no one to take their own life, so we still have work to do. We all have a role to play and if we want to protect our local population we have to act together.”

Tickets to the event taking place at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre on Wednesday 12 September are available to book for free on Eventbrite.

This year’s event will cover a variety of topics including:

  • Quiet  connections - Social anxiety and the #WeAreEnough campaign. How individuals have forged a community through shared experiences.
  • Fishing for positive mental health - Fishing as an escape from the day-to-day, and providing an environment in which men can talk about their personal feelings.  
  • Wave project – surf therapy and wellbeing. How young people with mental health issues have built confidence through surfing.
  • Schools and colleges– What are the correct steps to take after a suicide takes place?
  • Non-medical crises and building resilience – How can we support people feel safe, gain employment and have somewhere to live?
  • Reducing the stigma of mental ill-health – asking people ‘how are you really feeling?

Story posted 11 September