Ambitious target for Doncaster to become a ‘suicide free borough’ 

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Council health bosses have said they want Doncaster to strive towards becoming a ‘suicide free borough’.  

The local authority’s director of health, Dr Rupert Suckling, made the admission to councillors and said improvements are being made to mental health services. 

Dr Suckling was speaking at the publication of the council’s annual public health report which highlighted suicide as the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

The council’s own Suicide Prevention Plan, which was discussed by councillors in December, showed middle-aged men classed as ‘White British’ were more likely to take their own life in Doncaster than any other demographic.

Figures revealed there were 429 recorded suicides in Doncaster between 2002 and 2017 - the latest figure of 33 in 2017 was the highest number for 15 years.

A detailed audit focusing between 2015 and 2017 found 64 people took their own life - 100 per cent were classed as ‘White British’, 84 per cent were men and 27 per cent were aged between 51 and 60.

The report said the location of suicides across Doncaster between 2015 and 2018 had been mapped against the ‘index of multiple deprivation’ showing ‘higher incidents in urban centres and areas of higher deprivation’.

The rate of male suicides in the borough are more than twice that of women with 10 per 100,000.

“This year’s report is slightly different as it takes the focus on one topic – mental health. 

“Mental health is becoming increasingly important in our society.

“I have highlighted suicide in this report – it’s the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and today 16 people will take their own lives.

“That’s why I’m keen that in Doncaster we pledge to become a zero suicide borough and that we always ask twice when we’re talking to people and asking about their mental health

“We should continue to see the improvements in services in mental health as seen and recommended by the overview and scrutiny panel. 

“This includes the mental health of parents at the birth of a new child, young people’s mental health and reducing the need to place our children outside of the borough when they need specialist mental health.”

Contact Samaritans on 116 123 if you ever feel the need to talk to someone.