'Concerning' rise in suspected suicide rates in Cumbria after lockdown

Credit: PA

A Cumbrian police chief has voiced concerns about a rise in the number of suspected suicides reported across Cumbria after lockdown.

So far this year, 45 people in the county have thought to have taken their own life - almost double the number this time last year.

Assistant Chief Constable, Andy Slattery, says the increase in cases is 'concerning' and has met with Cumbria's suicide prevention group to understand why it is happening and what to do next.

He told ITV Border: "Mental health is something we've been worrying about right from the outset of coronavirus and through the lockdown period.

"During lockdown itself, there were very few suicides, but when the lockdown was lifted we saw a rise in the number of suicides.

"It's really difficult to fully understand that. There is a county-wide suicide prevention group meeting currently to work out what the problems are and what the best interventions are.

"It's not quite as straight forward as people losing their businesses and their livelihoods as it's quite a cross-section of people - young and old.

"But there has been a definite rise in the number of people taking their own lives and it's really tragic.

"It is worrying. Obviously, some of the factors that were present at the end of lockdown remain here. We don't know how the virus is going to react through the winter months and people will still be under a lot of strain and pressure."

The figures come on World Suicide Prevention Day, which, every year, aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible. 

Assistant Chief Constable, Andy Slattery, has urged anyone who is struggling with their mental health to ask for help. He stressed: "There are people who can help, and if anybody out there is worried about loved ones, relatives or workmates, please get in touch with the authorities, let us know and let us try and help them."

If you are struggling, support services are available below:

  • Papyrus Hopeline offers confidential support and advice to children and young people under 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts or to anyone concerned about a young person.

Call: 0800 068 4141; or text: 07860 039 967; or email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

  • The Samaritans is a charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide

Call: 116 123.

  • Every Life Matters is a Cumbria-based help service that is currently offering suicide awareness training.

Call 07908 537541 or contact them at: info@every-life-matters.org.uk

  • Lancs and South Cumbria Mental Health Helpline is a 24/7 Mental Health and wellbeing helpline for Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Call: 0800 915 4640

  • The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – Helpline for men of all ages 5pm – Midnight.

Call: 0800 58 58 58.