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New campaign is hoping to tackle the myths and shine a light on suicide in Suffolk

The launch of the Suffolk Live Savers. (L-R) Brad Jones, Ipswich Star editor; Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health; Abdul Razaq, director of public health and protection; Colin Noble, leader of Suffolk County Council; Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council and Terry Hunt, EADT editor

The launch of the Suffolk Live Savers. (L-R) Brad Jones, Ipswich Star editor; Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health; Abdul Razaq, director of public health and protection; Colin Noble, leader of Suffolk County Council; Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council and Terry Hunt, EADT editor

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A campaign has been launched to break the taboo of talking about suicide in Suffolk in response to the estimated 60 people who take their own lives in the county each year.

Suffolk Life Savers, which launches today, looks to raise awareness of the issue – which remains one of the biggest causes of death for men aged between 15 and 49 years.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of people who died by suicide were not in contact with mental health services in the 12 months leading up to their death.

Councillor Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council, said: “Suicide has far-reaching effects on family, friends and entire communities.

“No-one should feel they are alone, or that this is the only option, so we are urging people to join our campaign.

“This is a call to action to help us share the facts about suicide, and we want to tackle the many myths about the subject.

“Crucially, it is important to talk about suicidal thoughts and it can make all the difference.

“This campaign is about breaking the taboo and recognising the warning signs so that we are prepared to help someone at their lowest point.”

The first phase of the campaign, organised by the county council, will target men in the most at risk group, those aged between 40 and 60. Posters and information cards will be available throughout Suffolk in sports clubs, pubs, restaurants and other locations.

Suffolk Life Savers includes a partnership with the Men’s Health Forum to provide confidential support through its online ‘Beat Stress’ service, providing the chance to speak to a health professional anonymously.

Blair Williams, 62, from Halesworth, who has suffered with poor mental health for a number of years, said thanks to the support of his wife Tracie and the town’s Men’s Sheds project, he now has a more positive outlook on life.

He said: “I experienced a particularly difficult time 12 years’ ago where I couldn’t see any way forward.

“The Men’s Sheds project in Halesworth has helped me to keep busy and make new friends. Talking is the most important thing, but all of us find our own ways to do this.”

To become a Suffolk Life Saver, visit www.healthsuffolk.org.uk/suffolklivesmatter

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