A CARE trust has pledged its commitment to preventing deaths by suicide.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and community and learning disability services across the area, has given its backing to World Suicide Prevention Day – which takes place on Tuesday (Sept 10).

The trust, a key player in the work of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, has highlighted its existing initiatives to combat suicide and outlined its future aims.

It and the partnership both fully support the Zero Suicide Alliance, a coalition of organisations which shares best practice and developed free Save a Life suicide prevention training.

Around 4,500 people a year take their own lives in England.

It is the biggest killer of males under 50.

Mental health illness and financial problems are two of the largest contributing factors.

Grainne Eloi, general manager of mental health services at the care trust, said: “The impact of suicide is devastating – not just on the person, but on family and friends left behind.

“We want to raise awareness of the support available for vulnerable people contemplating taking their own lives and we’re fully committed to suicide prevention.

“Working as part of the wider West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, we’re looking at new ways to create awareness and support for actions that prevent suicide.”

The trust runs a first-response service for people in need of urgent crisis care.

It offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to people of all ages living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.

People can call 01274 221181, and their needs will be quickly assessed.

Support options could include a first responder – mental health nurses and social workers who visit people during times of crisis – or referral to a community-based ‘safer space’, which provides a calm and safe environment and an alternative to A&E.

A multi-agency Suicide Prevention Advisory Network has been set-up and the partnership has taken a number of steps.

Funding totalling £117,000 has been secured from NHS England/NHS Improvement for ‘pathfinder’ development workers to provide advice, training and support to 600 men in the area.

The project will involve voluntary organisations including State of Mind Sport and Luke’s Lads.

State of Mind Sport promotes positive mental health among sportsmen and women, fans and wider communities, with the ultimate aim of preventing suicide.

And Luke’s Lads encourages men to talk about their feelings in a circuit training environment. “Studies have shown that exercise can release endorphins to energise your spirits and lift your mood,” said a spokesman. “Talking isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a way to take care of your wellbeing and help cope with problems.”

The pathfinders will work with all men, but there will be a specific emphasis on those aged 35 to 50.

Measures to engage men will be developed in conjunction with leisure, sporting and community organisations – including football, rugby and boxing clubs.

Another scheme is arming firefighters with suicide prevention techniques.

The partnership has stumped-up £22,000 for a basic ‘train the trainers’ fire service pilot.

Plus, investigations are being carried out into the potential demand for a support service for military veterans.

Various activities are taking place in the Bradford district – and across West Yorkshire – to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and raise awareness of the issue.

The day is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

For more details about the association, visit iasp.info.