New bid to tackle Suffolk's suicide rate

WORK to reduce the number of people who take their own lives in Suffolk each year is under way today.

WORK to reduce the number of people who take their own lives in Suffolk each year is under way today.

NHS Suffolk has produced its latest suicide reduction plan and is working with Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and other agencies to bring down the number of people who kill themselves.

Between 2004 and 2006 there were 82 suicides in Suffolk, compared with 181 in Norfolk, and accounting for population size and age and gender distribution, the rate in Suffolk is lower than the East of England and national average.

However Dr Peter Bradley, director of public health in Suffolk, said the aim was to reduce the number of suicides even further.


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He said: “We have a system where the primary care trust (NHS Suffolk), primary care and the mental health trust are all working together.

“We want to work even closer together and the suicide reduction plan helps to plan that.

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“We can't be sure exactly why suicide rates are lower in Suffolk - it may be that we have some particularly good services in Suffolk.

“But other social factors impact on whether people decide to take their own life.”

Mark Halladay, the chief executive of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said it was essential the authorities did not become complacent.

“If we are going to reduce suicide even further in Suffolk we need to work even closer with the agencies, including GPs and social care,” he said.

“We have done well but we have to keep pushing rates down, particularly among young men and older people.”

What can be done to help reduce suicide rates in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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