Almost a thousand multi agency frontline workers are to receive suicide prevention training as part of a strategy to reduce the number of people who take their own lives in the West Midlands.

Sandwell Council’s Public Health Team has announced it will be working with the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide to deliver training to staff who have contact with children, young people and adults.

The training will take place over the coming year as part of the Sandwell Suicide Prevention Partnership which is working to develop better ways of preventing loss of life to suicide.

James Parkes, PAPYRUS’ Area Manager for England North, said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK and we believe many suicides can be prevented.

“By offering training to a variety of professionals, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council will be spreading greater awareness, investing in lifesaving skills and ultimately helping to save lives.

“Prevention is everybody’s business. We need to break down the stigma around suicide and equip people and communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.”

The council will spend just under £50,000 on accredited training for 960 professionals and staff who come into contact with children, young people and adults.

The training which will range from a three-and-a-half-hour tutorial to an intensive two-day course. Each course will concentrate on improving knowledge and skills to better understand suicide and suicide prevention.

Councillor Syeda Khatun, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said “We are delighted to be working with PAPYRUS to offer this vital training to Sandwell’s workforce. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and we all potentially have a part to play in preventing deaths by suicide.”

Lina Martino, Consultant in Public Health at Sandwell Council, added: “There are many reasons why someone may consider taking their own life or reach a point where they feel that this is their only option. This training will help to ensure that all of our staff working with directly with Sandwell residents have the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognise when someone may be struggling, and to refer or signpost them to the right help and support.”

PAPYRUS is a member of the Sandwell Suicide Prevention Partnership and has a team based in Birmingham.

The charity has been delivering high quality training since 2005 and has equipped tens of thousands of people across the UK to help create suicide safer communities.

Whilst PAPYRUS focuses on working with people under the age of 35, the suicide prevention training it offers is applicable to all ages.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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