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Police dog joins in 'push-up challenge'

A police dog from the Avon & Somerset force has joined his handler in taking part in a 'push-up challenge.'

PC Steve Hopwood is doing 22 push-ups a day as part of the #22Kill challenge.

The campaign gets it's name from the number of US service veterans who commit suicide every day. This is echoed in the British former-service community.

In this country, suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under 45. The campaign hopes to get more people to talk about suicide and stop people suffering in silence.

On the 9th day of his push-up challenge, PC Hopwood was joined by his canine team mate!

Watch the video here...

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Prison suicide rates at 'alarmingly high level'

Suicide rates behind bars remain at an "alarmingly high level" as eight people took their own lives in the West Country alone last year.

Figures show four people took their own lives in Exeter prison, while two more died in Guys Marsh in Dorset. Deaths by suicide were also recorded in Dartmoor and Erlestoke prisons.

Dartmoor Prison Credit: ITV West Country

As the number of prisoners grow annually, and chronic overcrowding and staff cuts hit systems hard, deaths by suicide have risen by 46 per cent in the last three years.

The figure is among a total of 29 people who committed suicide across the country, with a further eight prisoners killed in apparent homicides during 2015 - the highest number in a single year since current recording practices began in 1978.

No one should be so desperate whilst they are in the care of the state that they take their own life.

The numbers hide the true extent of misery for prisoners and families – and for staff, who have been given the impossible task of keeping people safe in overcrowded prisons starved of resources.

The question now for the Ministry of Justice is: what to do? This level of deaths, violence and anguish in prisons cannot continue to rise in a civilised society.

We cannot go on cramming more people into jails without any thought for the consequences.

– Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform
Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

The Howard League for Penal Reform and Centre for Mental Health, supported by The Monument Trust, are working together on a joint programme on preventing people from dying by suicide in prison.

They saw around 40 per cent of prisoners who died by suicide in 2015 were on remand at the time of their deaths - despite people on remand make up only 15 per cent of the prison population at any one time.

Evidence suggests people held in prison on remand, or have been recalled while on licence, are disproportionately likely to take their own lives.

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Tragic poem left by suicide teen

A mother from Devon who's daughter committed suicide has released a poem the teenager wrote before she died.

Izzy Dix, who was 14, hanged herself at home in Brixham in September after being bullied.

It's hoped the poem, 'I Give Up', will raise awareness of bullying in schools and online.

I arrive,

Happy and fresh,

Ready and excited

To celebrate the goodness.

I am eager and keen to have a good time.

As I smile from the bubbles of anticipation whizzing around my stomach,

I begin to see the crowd,

I see more people,

Many are happy and joyful.

They're there like me,

To celebrate,

I smile at them and say hello to the many faces I see,

They look shocked and surprised to see me,

I question their judgmental glares as I wonder,

'What have I done wrong?'

I see their drinks swilling in their fingers as their backs begin to face me.

I try to edge my way back into the circle of giggles and talking,

They push me away.

I stand still,

My eyes glazed and absent.

Suddenly they call me over,

I think, 'yes! They've noticed me!'

But then it begins,

They start to ask questions,

As to why I am there.

They begin to tell me that nobody wants me there,

They tell me to leave and that I am not wanted,

Not there, not anywhere,

My heart,

My head,

My body,

Numb.

I feel pricks of stinging begin to pinch my eyes as cheeks begin to burn.

'Don't let them see you,

Don't show them that you're weakened,

Weakened by their remarks',

'Stay strong' I think,

But it's too late,

My palms, clammy,

My cheeks, streaming,

My neck, sweating.

I walk quickly away from the chanting and laughing,

My vision, spinning,

My heart, beginning to break.

I look down and walk,

My eyes drowning in a sea of emotion.

Another piece of me chiselled away by their cruel remarks and perceptions,

I give up.

– I Give Up, By Izzy Dix