To coincide with national mental health campaign Time to Talk day, the council is launching its ‘Suicide Prevention Strategy 2018-2021.’ The annual day on 1 February aims to encourage everyone to talk about mental health and end the stigma around it.
One in four people are affected by mental health at some point during their lifetime however suicide is often a taboo topic. Talking openly about mental health is considered an important preventative measure- writes towerhamlets.gov.uk.
In Tower Hamlets, the suicide rate (8.6 out of 100,000) is lower than that of England (9.9) and slightly lower than the London average (8.7). However, the council recognises that more can be done to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.
Four in five suicide victims are men, and over half of all suicides are in men and women aged 20-39. A number of deaths have been among the student population, and a significant number have not been registered with a GP making it difficult for them to access the help they need.
Drawing upon local data and wider evidence around suicide prevention the strategy outlines five key priority actions areas: 1. Early Intervention and Prevention, 2. Improving help for those in crisis, 3. Identifying the needs of vulnerable people, 4. Addressing training needs, and 5. Communication and awareness.
A multi-agency suicide prevention group, led by Tower Hamlets Council and experts from the NHS, the Metropolitan Police, Queen Mary University of London, Transport for London, and the voluntary sector including Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham and Samaritans, will be responsible for overseeing implementation.
The council will put in place a communication strategy to support national and regional awareness campaigns, and has signed the Time to Talk pledge to engage their staff and local community partners in promoting open and safe places to discuss mental health.
Nearly 140 frontline staff in Tower Hamlets have already been trained in suicide prevention, and plan to train a further 250 before the end of the year.
Most people who choose to end their lives do so for complex reasons. There are a range of factors that can contribute to the risk of suicide, including life history, developing a serious mental health condition; alcohol and drug misuse; unemployment and distressing life events such bereavement, debt and relationship breakdown.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:
“Suicide is a personal tragedy and a profound loss for the family, friends and community affected. While Tower Hamlets already has a strong record for its mental health services, we want to ensure that there is a system of continuous improvement.
"Our new Suicide Prevention Strategy is aimed at making sure our services are joined up, easy to access and that we are drawing on the best available evidence.”
Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services Cllr Denise Jones said:
“This strategy is about working together and sharing information to prevent duplication and ensure that those at risk receive the best possible care.
"Communication and awareness is crucial to suicide prevention, and the national Time to Talk Day is an opportunity to remind all of us what role we can play to support friends, family and members of our community affected by mental health issues. ”
If you are concerned that harm to yourself or others is occurring or about to occur call the police and ambulance services
Explain your concerns in as much detail as possible to allow the call handler to provide the most appropriate response.
If you need medical help but it is not an emergency
Confidential emotional support 24 hours 7 days a week
Out of hours General Practitioners (GP)
Out of hours GP service
Tower Hamlets: 0300 033 5000
Mental health Crisis support
Tower Hamlets: 020 8121 5499 / 020 8121 5487 (ELFT)
Emergency Duty Service/team
Tower Hamlets: 0207 364 4079
Prevention of young suicide, for under 35s
A national confidential support service for any young people (under 35) at risk of suicide, or anyone worried about a young person at risk of suicide.
Tel: 0800 068 41 41
Calls and texts are free from all providers and do not appear on bills
Confidential emotional support for men
One-off short stay in a safe place
SANE Mental Health Helpline
SANE's helpline is a national, 7 days a week, out-of-hours (6-11pm) telephone helpline for anyone coping with mental illness, including concerned relatives or friends.
Help and advice about a wide range of issues
Anyone under 19 in the UK
Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night.
Phone, by email or through 1-2-1 counsellor chat.
Confidential support from LGBT+ Volunteers
10am-10pm every day
Tel: 0300 330 0630
Comfort after a suicide
A range of bereavement support to anyone affected by suicide
Tel: 01395 277 780
Tel:0207 631 0101/ 07717 989 900
Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services.
East London Rape Crisis Service
Tel: 020 7683 1210
Tower Hamlets: The Haven Whitechapel Tel: 020 7247 4787
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