Wirral suicide rates rising

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MP for Birkenhead Frank Field © Matthew Smith, Policy Exchange/Wikimedia Commons

MP for Birkenhead Frank Field © Matthew Smith, Policy Exchange/Wikimedia Commons

There has been a worrying rise in the number of suicides in Wirral, according to a local MP.

Figures taken from the House of Commons library show a worrying rise in the number of suicides over the past three years, according to the Labour MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field.

There is particular concern surrounding the number of men choosing to take their own lives, with 67 out of 85 who took their own life being male.

The total number of suicides in Wirral also rose year-on-year, from 17 in 2009 to 24 in 2012.

Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, said: “Each one of these suicides represents a huge personal tragedy. They are also a catastrophe for the family, friends and loved ones of those individuals.

“It’s now imperative that we begin to look more seriously at what the causes of suicides are, and how best to prevent them, so that those 85 lives have not been lost for nothing,” he added.

Statistically, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK and around 77% of all suicide cases are male.

A campaign has recently been launched by the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to promote greater awareness for male suicide.

The charity hopes to remove the stigma that men should not talk about their problems and they are instead encouraged to speak out about their issues. The campaign #ManDown asked men to tweet images of themselves displaying the slogan and has been backed by celebrities including former St Helens rugby league player Paul Sculthorpe.

A spokesman for the charity told JMU Journalism: “We provide support and help through our phoneline and text and webchat services, plus we’re instrumental in pushing for better training amongst the community and amongst health professionals.

“We’re also working with emergency services to improve the care for people at risk and those bereaved by suicide. Finally, we’re working with a wide range of partners in the region to increase activity and joined up working, so that more lives are saved.”

A lecture about the topic by renowned suicide counsellor Dr Jim O’Donoghue ‘The Tragedy of Suicide – Its Source and Its Prevention’ is taking place at Wallasey Town Hall on October 18th.

About Sophie Lockett, JMU Journalism