Strategy to help people in Blackpool when they are at their lowest point

One of the Samaritans signs
One of the Samaritans signs
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Signs have been put up in parts of Blackpool which are known to have been the site of suicides in the hope of saving lives.

The signs include the Samaritans helpline number and a message 'Talk to us'.

Health officials have identified public sites including parts of the Promenade which draw people when they are feeling at their most low.

The move is part of a raft of measures aimed at preventing some of the 50 or so deaths which occur over a two-year period in the resort due to people taking their own lives.

A meeting of Blackpool Council's adult social care and health scrutiny committee heard the number of suicides had dropped to around 51 deaths for the period 2015 to 2017, compared to 57 between 2014 and 2016.

This equates to a suicide rate of 14 per 100,000 of the population for 2015 to 2017, down from 15.9 per 100,000.

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health at Blackpool Council, said: "Every suicide is a tragedy and we don't want to lose any people from suicide.

"There are certain relevant factors, particularly middle-aged men are at risk as well as people from deprived areas, people with debt issues, social isolation, drug and alcohol misuse and mental health problems."

Judith Mills, public health specialist at Blackpool Council, said: "We have looked at high risk places where people have died by suicide and put signage in place.

"The World Health Organisation has done research that shows the message makes a difference and that some people step back and change their mind."

Other measures as part of the suicide prevention strategy include around 600 people being trained in suicide prevention techniques, and improving responses to people who self harm and are in emotional crisis.

A therapist is also helping people out on the streets who may be suffering from mental health issues.