LOCAL action saves lives when it comes to preventing suicide.

That’s the message a campaign group is hoping to spread as it emerges that an average of almost 40 people a year in Dorset take their own lives.

The Samaritans of Bournemouth and District is calling on people to email their local authority to encourage agencies and organisations to work together to tackle suicide.

The charity has launched a campaign which hopes to ensure suicide prevention is made a priority.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics 22 people across the county (not including Bournemouth and Poole) took their lives in 2014. In 2013 the figure was 50 and in 2012 the figure was 43 – a three year average of 38 per year.

Dr Andrew Mayers, a psychologist at Bournemouth University and patron for Samaritans of Bournemouth and District said: “Working together locally to prevent suicide really helps us have more influence. We get to know what’s going on because we are in regular meetings with other organisations, not only can we share ideas and best practice, we can see how we can get involved with projects locally which will really make a difference.”

Research by the charity shows that one in 15 adults across the country experiences suicidal thoughts.

Fiona Malcolm, Samaritans deputy CEO, said: “Because suicide is everybody’s business, we want everyone to add their voices to the campaign to get all local authorities to implement strong suicide prevention plans in their area. It’s really simple – follow the link on our website and you can play your part in reducing suicide through Local Action Saves Lives.”

The charity says there is a ‘patchwork of suicide prevention activity across the country that is letting far too many people down’, and is campaigning for all areas to have local suicide prevention plans.

A spokesman for Dorset CCG said: “In line with NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for mental health and ambition to reduce suicides by 10 per cent by 2020/21, all partners across Dorset will be working to put together a suicide prevention plan.”

A Public Health Dorset spokesman said: “We have trained about 600 local council staff across Dorset in Mental Health First Aid training, which gives people who work with the public the ability to recognise when someone is in crisis and help them. Public Health Dorset is currently working with Dorset CCG and service users on a programme to transform mental health services, particularly for people who are suffering from a crisis."

Public Health Dorset has published a number of stories about how the training has helped people in crisis. For more, click here

For more information about the work taking place to improve mental health care, click here