West Cumbrian men call for urgent action to tackle 'suicide crisis'

A mental health charity is calling for urgent action to tackle a "suicide crisis" in Cumbria.

Members of the Workington branch of Andy's Man Club say at least five men took their own lives in West Cumbria over Christmas, where there is one of the highest rates of male suicides in the UK per head of population.

The group gathered together to take to the cold and swim in the sea to highlight the support available for people who find themselves struggling to cope.

Around 30 men took the New Year's plunge into the Irish Sea at the beach at Harrington.

The charity is urging men to open up about the issues that they are struggling with to prevent more lives from being lost.

"Men's mental health at the minute, especially in West Cumbria, is at what we would say is a severe high," said Mike Glaister who is one of the lead facilitators for the group.

"We have 60 to 70 blokes coming a week to our branch in Workington, plus tens/twenties in the surrounding towns.

"Just alone over the festive season, there's been five male deaths by suicide in Cumbria."

The men's mental health charity has branches across the county that have weekly meet-ups for men to get together and share their problems - and provide friendship.

They say it is vital people don't let any perceived stigma prevent them from accessing help.

Carlisle, Copeland and Barrow have the highest suicide rates in England and Wales, according to the Office of National Statistics.

If you are having thoughts of suicide support is available at:

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