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​World Suicide Prevention Day supported in Lewisham

More than 6,000 people in the UK and Ireland take their life every year, and we are raising awareness of this tragic statistic through supporting World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday 10 September.

World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual event organised by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It's held every year on 10 September to raise awareness about suicide.

Local GP and Senior Clinical Director at Lewisham CCG, Dr Charles Gostling, said: "There are many myths surrounding suicide – including the fallacy that people who talk about suicide aren't serious in their intentions.

"In the UK, men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women – with the highest suicide rate being for men aged between 45 and 49.

"Every suicide is a tragedy that can also have a devastating impact on the family members and loved ones who are affected."

Dr Gostling added: "But it's important to stress that suicide is not an inevitable conclusion and it can be prevented. Men are more likely to complete suicide because they are less likely to ask for help – or talk about their depressive or suicidal feelings. Drug and alcohol misuse is also a significant risk factor."

Despite popular misconceptions, statistics indicate that less than 30 percent of people who die by suicide have been in contact with mental health services in the year before they died.

Dr Gostling said: "However, help is out there for anyone who is feeling desperate. In Lewisham we have support mechanisms in place that can help people if they're experiencing a crisis in their lives."

People in Lewisham can access now access the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) mental health support line via option 3 of Lewisham council's Single Point of Access (SPA) on one number – 020 8314 7777.

They are also reminded they can Freephone 0800 731 2864, which is the 24-hour Mental Health Helpline for anyone living in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon experiencing mental distress. It is for current patients and for those who have never used SLaM services before.

Copies of the Lewisham crisis leaflet and other resources for patients can be printed from the SLaM crisis page

Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, every day on the free number, 116 123.

For young people aged under 19, Childline can be contacted for free on 0800 1111 – the number won't show up on your phone bill.

"Hopefully, the more that we can talk about suicide," said Dr Gostling, "the more that we can do to reduce the stigma and people can open up."

He added: "But one suicide is one too many, and World Suicide Prevention Day helps us to keep this subject in our minds and encourages people to talk."