In 2017, 77 per cent of suicides in Wales were male – it’s a shocking statistic which prompted a new approach to encouraging men to seek support.
Working with Assembly Member, Eluned Morgan and local mental health charities, Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, is focussing on building community resilience to end the stigma of poor mental health.
Data shows that men are less likely than women to seek help or to express depressive or suicidal thoughts.
“The causes of suicide are always desperately complex” said Councillor Wilcox, “This undeniable trend in male suicide must be confronted, beginning with a move to challenge views surrounding mental health, so that it becomes a topic we can all talk about.”
#IPledge2Talk was designed to do just that. The campaign fosters an openness in seeking support and gives people more confidence to intervene if they are concerned about someone being at risk. At the heart of the drive is a pledge card, a resource developed by Mind, whose initiative came about in response to growing concerns over suicide rates.
To mark World Suicide Awareness Day, Councillor Wilcox took the message to full council, appointing a new ‘mental health champion’ and tabling a motion to promote awareness of mental health across Newport communities, schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces.
Councillor Wilcox added: “Every suicide is a tragedy. It is important to remember that there are many suicide attempts for each death – the impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, but we can and must do more to prevent those deaths.
“We hope to get these pledges in as many places as possible and to make talking about mental health issues the norm. There are support services all over Newport and Wales, shining a light for those who need it. But having the confidence to seek help isn’t always easy. The #IPledge2Talk campaign is about how we can all play our part helping those who need it, to get the support they need and deserve.”
Councillor Wilcox urges residents to make their own pledges using the hashtag #IPledge2Talk and spread the message as far as possible - talking saves lives.