New drive to prevent suicides in Norfolk - where experts say isolation contributes to a rate above the national average

A new strategyt aims to prevent people in Norfolk from taking their lives.

A new strategyt aims to prevent people in Norfolk from taking their lives. PICTURE POSED BY MODEL Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A new drive has been launched to try to prevent suicides in Norfolk, where the number of people taking their own life is higher than the national average.

Norfolk has an average of 12.4 suicides per 100,000 people, which equates to about 77 suicides each year.

The national average is 10.1 per 100,000 people and experts say rural isolation in Norfolk contributes to the suicide rate.

Officers told a meeting of Norfolk County Council's communities committee, where a countywide suicide prevention strategy was agreed, that men who experience suicidal thoughts were particularly reluctant to seek help.

The strategy aims to help break down the stigma around asking for help and looks to target specific groups, including young and middle-aged men and people in occupations such as farming, doctors, nurses and vets.

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The strategy has been drawn up by Norfolk's public health arm, working with organisations such as the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, Norfolk police - which now has mental health staff working in its control room, British Transport Police and the police and crime commissioner.

A small budget of £20,000 has been made available to promote awareness and reduce stigma, while rolling out training to health, social care and voluntary sector staff.

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Members of the committee welcomed the strategy.

Emma Corlett, Labour councillor for Town Close in Norwich said isolation did not just occur in rural areas.

She said: 'in my area, urban isolation is a huge issue. I know of two suicides in my division which fit the demographics.'

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