This World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), Kent residents are being encouraged to complete new suicide prevention e-learning courses which raise awareness of how to support people they may be concerned about.
Latest figures show that the current three-year average (2016-2018) for suicide rates in Kent is now 10 per 100,000 population compared to 11.6 in 2014-2016. Rates take account of population sizes and changes, allowing comparisons with the rest of England (the national rate over this period has increased). Although there was a slight increase in the numbers of Kent people taking their own lives (from 128 in 2017 to 137 in 2018), the three year average rates are falling across the county.
KCC’s Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark said: “Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and a huge personal cost to friends, family and the community of the person who has died. Most lives lost to suicide can be prevented. Every life lost to suicide is one death too many in Kent and at long last, the long term trend appears to be down but we will not be complacent – we believe that initiatives like the free online training can only help to decrease it further and save lives.”
The online course can be completed in 45 minutes and is designed to give people a basic understanding of suicide prevention issues and to increase knowledge and confidence about how we can all play a role in keeping people safe. The training can be accessed for free via the Kent Safeguarding Children’s Board website www.kscb.org.uk
This training includes details of the Release the Pressure campaign which encourages people to access expert help and support by calling Freephone 0800 107 0160 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The campaign website www.releasethepressure.uk also includes case studies from men in Kent who have turned their lives around after attempting suicide.
The Release the Pressure campaign is being supported this season by Margate Football Club which is displaying information on pitch hoardings and in the match day programme. General Manager, Deny Wilson said: “Margate FC is proud to support The Release the Pressure campaign. We believe football plays a powerful role within the local community, it can bring people together and start important conversations. By embracing and promoting this important initiative throughout the season, we hope to raise awareness and support those who need it most.”
Diane Marsh, KCC Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “On this suicide prevention day, I am mindful of the people who continue to struggle with believing that taking their own lives is their only option to overcome their emotional pain.
“If we can all take some time to be more empathetic and reach out to give others time to talk about feelings and thoughts, we could all contribute to making for a world where we feel we are all seen, heard and valued. I am very pleased to be supporting projects and initiatives that raise the awareness about suicide prevention and how we can help each other reduce the stigma around talking and supporting each other often in a difficult world.”
Note to Editors:
ONS the 2018 Coroners Registrations of Suicide Data
Details on the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Strategy for 2015-20 can be found at https://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/75058/K-M-Suicide-prevention-strategy-2015-20-Final.pdf