How are you really feeling?

As I drove along the Torridge Bridge yesterday evening, I noticed the array of Samaritans signs exhorting people to talk to them if they were feeling suicidal, on 116 123 (24 hours). This morning, I accidentally came across an article suggesting that North Devon & Torridge has the highest combined rate in Devon, with the South West having the highest rate in England. So, it seemed right to mention it on this grey and dreary morning, the kind of day when people stay in and don’t talk to anyone!  If nothing else, I’m giving you the helplines (below) which may be of use.

One of the problems with statistics is that they are invariably retrospective, but suicide is a growing issue, as this report from The Samaritans tells us. Samaritans say their vision is that fewer people die by suicide, and we’d all like to see that come to fruition.

Suicide is not inevitable; it is preventable. The causes of suicide are complex, but we know it is both a gender and an inequality issue. Behind every statistic is an individual, a family and a community devastated by their loss.

Their preventative focus seems to be, alongside direct help to individuals, on encouraging local multi-agency initiatives to work on preventing suicide, which should have an impact.

The figures…

The age groups with the highest suicide rate per 100,000 are: • 45-49 years, for all persons • 40-44 years for males • 50-54 years for females.

According to Devon Live:

Key Statistics (Source ONS 2017)

  • 5668 deaths were attributed to suicide nationally in 2016; that equates to 15 deaths per day.
  • In 2016 the South-West was identified as having the highest rates in England at 11.2 deaths per 1000 population.
  • ¾ of all suicides in 2016 were male
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for males between age 20 and 49
  • 74% of those who suicided were not in contact with Mental Health Services 12 months prior to their death.

A key concern for our area is that South West England has the highest rate of suicide in the England, with North Devon and Torridge experiencing the highest combined rate in Devon. Cornwall is said to have the third highest rate in the country. 

Devon Council’s factsheet advises us that it isn’t always apparent how someone is feeling so we need to ask the question: how are you really feeling? Cornwall Council offers similar advice.

Here are some helpful links for anyone affected by this health issue:


116 123 (24 hours)

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide
0800 068 41 41 (Mon–Fri, 10am–5pm and 7pm–10pm; weekends 2pm–5pm)

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
0800 58 58 58 (7 days a week, 5pm–midnight)

0845 767 8000 (7 days a week, 6pm–11pm)

0300 123 3393 (Mon–Fri, 9am–6pm)

Maytree, A sanctuary for the suicidal
020 7263 7070

If the person does take their own life, don’t feel guilty. It is not always possible to prevent suicide.

If you have been affected by someone’s suicide, Help is at Hand provides useful, practical information about dealing with your feelings and getting support.

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