Tackling one of highest suicide rates in country

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LINCOLNSHIRE has one of the highest suicide rates in the country – with about 100 people taking their own life each year.

One campaigner says that is because of the loneliness experienced by many people in remote areas as well as the stresses associated with relationship breakdown, unemployment and financial worries due to the recession.

Now, that campaigner is working to create a “suicide safe community” by training people to recognise the signs in others and, for those who are willing to undergo further training, actually intervening to step in and stop someone taking their own life.

“The life we are having now has many stresses and suicide is becoming more common,” said Jeff Jeffery, of Meadowgate Lane, Spalding, who works for the NHS Lincolnshire Patient Foundation Trust.

Jeff, an Asist (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) team member, says: “In Lincolnshire alone there are approximately 100 suicides a year.

“We are high because of the farming community. It’s the loneliness and they have the means, they all have guns.

“Of those 100, it’s not necessarily farmers who are the highest category because you find debt, relationship break ups, unemployment, soldiers and bullying amongst youngsters and it all impacts.

“If you are talking about who is at risk, it’s everybody.”

Jeff says each suicide is felt by family, friends and work colleagues who may have feelings of guilt that they didn’t spot the signs beforehand.

He said: “We would like a suicide safe community where everybody is aware of the problem. If we are aware we can intervene.”

n See next week’s Spalding Guardian for a full feature on Jeff’s training programme at the Johnson Hospital.