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NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group urges people considering suicide to seek mental health advice ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day

By Claire McWethy

Men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women, according to latest figures.

In 2013 there were 145 suicides in Kent and Medway. Of these, 111 were men and 34 were women. At a national level, suicide is the biggest cause of death in people aged between 25 and 44.

But less than a third of those who took their own life had seen a mental health professional.

Mental health patients are being sent out of the county. Library image.
Mental health patients are being sent out of the county. Library image.

To highlight the problems, NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and pays for most of the area’s healthcare, is helping to raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day on Wednesday.

Dr David Chesover, the CCG’s clinical lead for mental health, said: “Suicide tragically affects too many in our society, with not only the terrible loss of life in very sad circumstances but having devastating effects on families, too.

“Men, particularly those aged between 30 and 60, are at most risk from suicide. Many people are fearful of seeking help and often confront their problems alone. I would urge anyone who has suicidal thoughts to seek urgent help.

“If a parent of anyone is worried about a child's mental health they should seek urgent advice, too. We want to ensure people at risk get the help they need. There is much we can do to support them through the crisis and help their recovery.”

There is no single factor that can lead to someone taking their own life. But a person is more likely to have suicidal thoughts if they suffer from a mental health condition, including depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Alcohol and drug use can also contribute, along with poor job security, unhappiness at work or a stressful event.

Free confidential emotional advice and guidance is available 24 hours a day from the Mental Health Matters helpline on 0800 107 0160 for landlines and 03003 305486 for mobile phones.

Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) operate a 24-hour service every day of the year.

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