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25 July 2016, 17:10
Cornwall has one of the highest levels of suicide in the country... figures show 86 people took their own life in 2014.
The ‘Towards Zero Suicides’ events are being hosted by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) and Cornwall Council, and those from public, private and voluntary sectors have been invited to attend.
The events take inspiration from the USA’s ‘Zero Suicide’ movement, which is based on the belief that suicide deaths for individuals being cared for within health systems are preventable. To explore this idea, workshops will be held throughout the day at all of the events, specifically looking into self-harm, mental healthcare, access to means, information available to the public and reducing stigma.
The latest confirmed figures show there were 86 deaths in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as a result of suicide or self-injury in 2014.
“Death by suicide is often hidden away” commented CFT’s Medical Director, Dr. Ellen Wilkinson.
“In reality, almost every family or community will have been affected in some way at some time by this tragic loss. It is often wrongly believed that nothing can be done but by bringing organisations and communities together, each person can potentially contribute to prevention or intervening to save a life. Learning how to talk about emotional health issues, making helplines and support easy to find, and ensuring that families and carers know how to recognise the signs could all make a difference.”
The aim of the events is to stop suicide being a "taboo" subject, and encourage friends, families and communities to talk about it.
Don and Lynne Hart lost their 17 year old son in 2011, and they now work with suicide prevention charity Papyrus to tell their story and help others.
Lynne says " We had no clue that he was suicidal, but we now know that he shared with the doctor that he was suicidal... things may have turned out very differently if we'd been included in the care that 5 weeks before he died".
A song written by their son Dave has been used to raise money for the charity.
With suicide rates in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly higher than the national average, it is intended that health and social care partners invited to the Towards Zero Suicide events 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.