Samaritans support posters could be put up in public places in Wakefield

Information about the Samaritans could be put up in public parts of Wakefield where people have decided to take their own lives.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 9:34 am
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 9:35 am
Concern has been expressed about the growing number of people in Wakefield taking their own lives.

The initiative is being put forward by Wakefield Council's public health team, in a bid to urge those who are deeply troubled to seek help.

The Samaritans is a nationwide helpline which can be contacted for free on 116 123 any time of the day. Anyone who is in emotional distress or needs someone to talk to is encouraged to call them to talk through their problems on a confidential basis.

The number of suicides in the district has risen above the national average, having been either in line with or below it for a number of years, councillors were told at a scrutiny meeting on Thursday.

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The Samaritans can be called 24/7.

The council is working with Youth Parliament members on the matter and the posters are likely to go up on local bus shelters as well.

Referring to the growing number of people taking their own lives, Steve Turnbull, who is the leading council's suicide prevention strategy, said: "That's something that's obviously a worry and why we are treating it as a high priority.

"We know in some parts of the country that there are places where lots of people take their own lives.

"We don't really have any of those spots in Wakefield, but there are public places where people have taken their own lives.

"We are looking at putting up some public signage in those places. They would have things like details about how to contact the Samaritans.

"But we've got to be very careful about how we do this, because we don't want to create a sense of, "This is the place".

Mr Turnbull also said that the council was working extensively with schools to address serious mental health issues in young people and to educate them about conversations around suicide.

Local Democracy Reporting Service