Wigan suicide rates higher than national average

Picture posed
Picture posed

SERIOUS concerns about Wigan’s high suicide rates have prompted borough health experts to pledge more support for residents at the point of crisis.

The borough has for decades struggled with levels of suicide way above the national average. And to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, the 5 Boroughs Partnership Trust is launching a new awareness campaign.

Those battling mental health issues always have somewhere to turn for support and advice is the message the care provider will emphasise throughout the coming weeks.

Suicide rates in Wigan currently stand at 11.3 per 100,000 population, significantly higher than the national rate of 8.8, according to the latest public health profile for the borough.

Ian Stirton-Cook, 5 Boroughs’ manager for Adults and Therapy Services, said: “We have serious concerns about these rates and are keen to develop a number of schemes to help raise awareness and support for people at the point of crisis.

“We always stress, and think it really important to do so, that suicidal feelings can happen to anyone and if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts there are people and services you can turn to.

“Whether that is a family member, a friend, GP, or just someone you know you can trust, there are options. We’re working with several partner agencies to take action to address these worrying trends and we want to get the message out there.”

Recent national statistics have shown increasing numbers of young men resorting to taking their own lives across the country, a trend that has been reflected in Wigan borough, according to Mr Stirton-Cook.

The research, conducted by the University of Manchester earlier this year, said the number had risen by a third in the last decade.

5 Boroughs offers mental services across Wigan and neighbouring areas and is working alongside partners State of Mind, the Samaritans and The Sanctuary, a Wigan based self-help group.

Throughout the coming weeks the Observer will feature a number of articles aimed at highlighting how residents can approach mental health issues and the occurrence of suicidal thoughts.

World Suicide Prevention Day falls on Thursday September 10 with the theme Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.