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Thrive Jersey and States to formulate ‘suicide strategy’

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A NEW ‘positivity’ think tank in Jersey says it will now focus on stepping up its efforts to form a ‘suicide strategy’ with the government to better tackle issues around self harm and people taking their own lives.

Andy Le Seelleur Picture: ROB CURRIE. (26207321)

The first Thrive Jersey event took place last week, with a range of people from Jersey, Guernsey and the UK speaking about topics including suicide and addiction.

And now the charity’s co-founder, mental health campaigner Andy Le Seelleur, says the strategy will involve raising awareness and developing tools online to signpost people who are at risk of self harm or suicide in the right direction.

Thrive was set up to champion positivity, community projects, mental health and welfare.

The latest figures for self harm and suicide in Jersey show that between January and September 2018, a total of 157-self harmed or attempted to end their lives by suicide.

Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. In Jersey, figures show that between 2006 and 2016 there were 129 suicides.

The most recent rate for suicide in Jersey, worked out on a three-year average, was eight per 100,000. It hit a peak in 2009 when there were 26 recorded suicides in Jersey, a rise of ten on the previous year and more than 60% higher than the UK average.

Mr Le Seelleur commented: ‘Following the event we will be working collaboratively with government and the civil service. We will be working together on a suicide strategy that raises awareness, looks at bereavement, creating risk profiles of people who may be at risk and develop tools online.

‘I have people coming to me who are concerned about a family member or a friend but don’t know where to go. We will be looking at training to raise awareness and working on things so we can signpost people in the right direction.’

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Assistant Health Minister Steve Pallett, who has political responsibility for mental health, attended the event and agreed that a suicide strategy needed to be put in place ‘as a matter of urgency.’

He added: ‘It was a great event to bring people together. It has highlighted that there is a lack of support around suicide in the Island, and we need to come up with a suicide strategy as a matter of urgency.

‘Suicide is damaging to society, it has been happening too often, and it impacts individuals and families.

‘I’ve met Andy Le Seelleur now and I know they have concerns and want to see a strategy put together.

‘I agree with him it is a major issue for the Island and it can’t carry on, and we will be looking to work collaboratively to tackle this.’

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