People urged to talk as Cornwall suicide rates are 'significantly higher' than UK average

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New statistics show that someone dies as a result of suicide every five days in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The figures, shared by Cornwall Council as part of their suicide prevention strategy, show the region has one of the highest figures in the country.

On average 66 people die each year as a result of suicide in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which means there is one suicide every 5.5 days. The suicide rate in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is higher than both the South West and national average.

Katie Laundon, from Penzance, who struggles with her mental health, says she's seen the lasting damage done when someone takes their own life. 

She says the support group Georgia's Voice, set up in memory of a teenager who took her own life in 2020, has been are invaluable in helping her avoid crisis point.

The 21-year-old said: "I think until Georgia passed away, I think it made me realise I could potentially have caused that. I didn't know anyone who had taken their own life that was around my age. It was a lot, it was very heavy, and I wasn't expecting it to have the impact on me that did."

Katie says she never before understood "the ripple effect" on a community after someone has taken their own life. Credit: ITV News

Katie Laundon says the impact on the community was "eye-opening".

The joint suicide prevention team in Cornwall says there are no simple explanations for this higher-than-average rate, but "it is not unusual for rates to be higher in remote rural and coastal communities".

Sophie Alway set up Georgia's Voice in the memory of her 19-year-old daughter Georgia Lee Gallaway, who died two years in Falmouth ago.

She says she needed something to help young women after her daughter's death made her feel so "hopeless".

"I was just thinking there have to be other girls that I feel this way and the support isn't there for them. So I just thought, why can't I educate myself and go and do these courses that are available and offer that support?"

The Georgia's Voice charity shop is one of ten venues which host support sessions for young women in Cornwall. Credit: ITV News

Sophie says the support groups offer a safe confidential space to talk and listen to other young women who have shared mental health experiences.

She says while it is not "professional support" and they signpost to mental health services, the groups are more readily available for face-to-face support than many NHS services.

"It's not professional support, the girls know that, but they just know that we're consistently there for them week after week and we genuinely care."

It comes as Cornwall Council has given 13 organisations a share of given a share of £325,000 to reach more communities at risk of suicide such as young men, those who identify as LGBTQ+, women going through menopause and homeless people. 

Public Health Cornwall's lead for suicide prevention Paula Chappell says there are a lot of ways community groups can help people that the NHS cannot do.

"They don't have the waiting lists, they can usually get people involved really quickly," she said.

"If you're working in a group with people who are maybe experiencing similar things to how you're feeling, there's a camaraderie, a feeling that you're not on your own with that, and you're also sort of building some community around you."


  • Cornwall Mental health line - 0800 038 5300

    • 24 hour free helpline for anyone who is in crisis or knows someone in crisis.

  • Samaritans - 116 123

    • Whatever you're going through, you can call the Samaritans for free at any time, or email: for a reply within 24 hours

  • Georgia's Voice

    • Small, free, confidential support groups for young women aged 18-25 with mental health concerns. Offering a safe place for you to come and talk, listen or just be.

  • Men Outside

    • Men Outside is a community of men looking after each other, finding ways to keep mentally well. this is FREE project for more details please email or call 0756074670.

  • Man Down

    • Man Down is a Cornwall based non-profit Community Interest Company. They provide informal peer-support talking groups all over Cornwall for men with mental health concerns. Together we can end the stigma and reduce the number of male suicides in Cornwall.

  • Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) - 0800 188 4444

    • Confidential support is available to those who currently work within agriculture and also to those who are no longer able to work due to ill-health, accident or age.