The first in a series of Suicide Intervention Briefings has been held at South Hams District Council.

despair

The briefings are part of an initiative from the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), which includes South Hams and Teignbridge District Councils and West Devon Borough Councils, and are being held in conjunction with Public Health Devon and Action to Prevent Suicide.

Suicide is a global issue, and takes someone's life every 40 seconds. In the UK it's the biggest killer of young people and men under 50, and it's estimated that two-thirds of people who take their own life do not approach their GP or health professional.

The Community Safety Partnership is working to reduce the number of suicides in their area, by helping people recognise and support those at risk.

To date over 300 people from a wide range of agencies have signed up to attend the briefings, where they will be given information on the realities of suicide and how simple conversations can made a huge difference in people's lives.  Those attending will receive information from organisations such as Samaritans, Devon Partnership Trust, Pete's Dragons, Papyrus, Grass Roots.

Cllr Tom Holway, Chairman of South Hams District Council and its representative on the CSP, said: "It's a sobering thought that the majority of deaths for men under the age of 50 is not disease or accident, but suicide. That means the majority of deaths are preventable. Many of our staff, from the contact centre to the housing advice team, come into contact with vulnerable people each day, and I hope that this training will give them the ability to recognise the signs of someone at risk of suicide, and intervene to prevent more tragic deaths."

Cllr Robin Musgrave, CSP Representative for West Devon, said: "I'm very grateful to the CSP and Action to Prevent Suicide for delivering this training for our staff and others in the public sector. We share their vision for a world free from suicide, and we're committed to helping reduce the stigma and raise awareness of this issue."

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council's executive portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: "The figures on suicide are staggering and saddening. I hope this training helps our staff, many of which deal with vulnerable people on a daily basis, identify and intervene where they see someone in crisis."

Two sessions were held at South Hams District Council on Tuesday 27 November, with a further two sessions planned at West Devon Borough Council on Thursday 29 November. The Teignbridge sessions will be held on Friday 7 December and Thursday 17 January at their offices in Newton Abbot.

For more information about Action to Prevent Suicide, including training courses offered by them, please visit Action to Prevent Suicide.