New organisation offers a lifeline to Wigan people with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts

A new organisation has been set up in Wigan to try to tackle the sensitive and difficult issue of suicide.
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Wigan had a higher-than-average rate of 12 deaths per 100,000 people recorded between 2019 and 2021. Three-quarters of those who took their own lives were men.

EPiC HOPE was founded in January by Ellie Palma-Cass, who has spent years battling mental health issues and suicidal ideation.

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She is passionate about helping people who are extremely low and maybe contemplating taking their own life.

The Wigan-based suicide prevention was founded by Ellie Palma-Cass, who has faced her own mental health issuesThe Wigan-based suicide prevention was founded by Ellie Palma-Cass, who has faced her own mental health issues
The Wigan-based suicide prevention was founded by Ellie Palma-Cass, who has faced her own mental health issues
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She is in the process of setting up places where people can go to access support, have a chat with teams and volunteers or be signposted to other organisations who can help.

Ellie has called these places “harbours” as the importance of having a safe place in a storm was important to her during her own mental health battle.

The charity is spending time at places where it is known people attempt to take their own lives to try to be there when someone is in need.

Wigan based suicide prevention charity EPiC HOPE launch a hub and support service at Wigan Warriors HQ, Robin Park, pictured with members of Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, from left, Tom Fitzpatrick, Matt Maloney and Claire Taylor representing Wigan Warriors and Jodie Danner, Ellie Palma-Cass, Rhi Palma-Cass and Steph Kernighan from EPiC HOPE, pictured at Wigan Warriors HQ.Wigan based suicide prevention charity EPiC HOPE launch a hub and support service at Wigan Warriors HQ, Robin Park, pictured with members of Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, from left, Tom Fitzpatrick, Matt Maloney and Claire Taylor representing Wigan Warriors and Jodie Danner, Ellie Palma-Cass, Rhi Palma-Cass and Steph Kernighan from EPiC HOPE, pictured at Wigan Warriors HQ.
Wigan based suicide prevention charity EPiC HOPE launch a hub and support service at Wigan Warriors HQ, Robin Park, pictured with members of Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, from left, Tom Fitzpatrick, Matt Maloney and Claire Taylor representing Wigan Warriors and Jodie Danner, Ellie Palma-Cass, Rhi Palma-Cass and Steph Kernighan from EPiC HOPE, pictured at Wigan Warriors HQ.
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Ellie said: “I suffered from suicidal ideation from a young age until I was in my 30s. I’m glad I’m alive and overcame it, although it was after many years. I’ve had amazing things happen in my life and I want to say things will get better. People in that dark, desperate place need support and care to be able to get through that next step, sometimes even that next hour.

“More people are turning to us. It’s not that mental health services aren’t there, they are just overwhelmed, they haven’t got enough staff. We’re creating these places so people have got somewhere to go.

“We want to reduce and stop suicide in Wigan and beyond. We can’t just leave it to the council, the NHS and local services because that evidently isn’t working. Community seems to come together when there has been a tragedy and we need to come together now before there’s another tragedy.

“We need to get together and decide we’ve had enough and we don’t want anybody else to be taken by suicide. It’s just heartbreaking. What we’re trying to do is make sure people know they aren’t isolated and people care.”

EPiC HOPE is partnering with Wigan Warriors, with suicide awareness training for players, staff and players families, with a special focus on the effect that head injuries can have on mental health.

More information about the services can be found on the EPiC HOPE website.