Tragedy of high rate of suicides

THE number of people who have died as a result of suicide in the Wigan borough is higher than the national average.

There were 8.52 suicides per 100,000 population compared to 5.69 nationally and 6.69 regionally, between the period of 2006 and 2008.

In 2008 the Wigan coroner recorded 28 deaths by suicide or an undetermined cause in the borough.

A spokesman for the Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust said: “Whilst the number of deaths from suicide remains low, the impact of the loss of life through suicide is substantial, like the ripples on a pond the effects of suicide are far reaching.

“The statistics for the directly standardised rates for suicide show that ALWPCT are higher than the England rate.

“However, careful and accurate statistical analysis shows that Wigan’s rates are not significantly different from the North West as a whole.

“The numbers of deaths resulting from suicide are small; preventing just one more death each year would have a significant impact.”

A number of support groups and organisations have been set up, which are dedicated to helping people who may be suffering with depression or feeling vulnerable.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust runs the Active Living programme which features services to improve the body and mind while the Reader Organisation runs the Get Into Reading initiative, designed to encourage those who are depressed or who are lacking in confidence to read aloud in groups at local libraries.

The ALWPCT spokesman also added: “There are many factors which are associated with increased risk of suicide including loneliness, depression, living alone, unemployment and social deprivation.

“Understanding what we can do to reduce the number of deaths from suicide is hard but evidence from the New Economic Foundation shows that there are things that we can all do that will help us as individuals and will help others who are vulnerable and may be at a low ebb.”

As spokesman from The Reader organisation said: “Our Get into Reading groups aim to improve well-being and to bring people together.

“They are open to all, regardless of their literacy level and have been proven to enhance the well-being of people with depression, drug and alcohol problems.”