Published: 06:00, 10 September 2019
| Updated: 12:30, 10 September 2019
The number of people taking their lives in Kent has increased for the first time in four years.
Office for National Statistics figures show more than 130 people died by suicide last year, and revealed which boroughs in the county were worst affected.
Medway (19) and then Thanet (18) have the highest level of suicides recorded by the coroner in 2018, while the lowest number, eight, was shared between Ashford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge and Malling.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and KentOnline wishes to remind every reader of the help that is available.
Kent County Council is reminding people of new suicide prevention courses available online here.
The free course takes 45 minutes and gives people a basic understanding of suicide prevention issues and increases an understanding of how we can all keep each other safe.
KCC’s Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark said: "Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and a huge personal cost to friends, family and the community of the person who has died.
"Most lives lost to suicide can be prevented. Every life lost to suicide is one death too many in Kent and at long last, the long term trend appears to be down but we will not be complacent - we believe that initiatives like the free online training can only help to decrease it further and save lives.”
KCC is part of the Release the Pressure campaign, encouraging people to access expert help 24-hours a day, 365 days a year on 08001070160 or through a webchat, here.
County councillor Diane Marsh, deputy cabinet member for adult social care and public health, has shared her family's story of mental illness in the past.
Speaking this week, she said: "On this suicide prevention day, I am mindful of the people who continue to struggle with believing that taking their own lives is their only option to overcome their emotional pain.
"If we can all take some time to be more empathetic and reach out to give others time to talk about feelings and thoughts, we could all contribute to making for a world where we feel we are all seen, heard and valued.
"I am very pleased to be supporting projects and initiatives that raise the awareness about suicide prevention and how we can help each other reduce the stigma around talking and supporting each other often in a difficult world.”
Maidstone and Mid Kent Mind is one of four local mind charities around the county.
The Mental Health Resource in Tunbridge Wells has received six figure sum to keep helping people who may be struggling in west Kent.
To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.
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More by this authorLuke May