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"Suicide is serious"

Government presents how it intends to put words into action

Civil servants, members of Manx Care and those affected by suicide were among those on a panel setting out how government intends to put the Suicide Prevention Strategy into action.

Public Health says the starting point of this strategy is that suicide is preventable, and if this is the case, it says, the logical ambition for the Isle of Man is ‘zero suicides’.

The presentation was given in a typical university-style lecture theatre with a solid turnout from people of all ages.

Key areas highlighted include that until 2019, the overall rate of suicide was stable. Since then, the Isle of Man has seen a spike and it's understood there have been seven suicides since the start of this year.

According to the data, men are taking their own lives three times more frequently than a woman and the biggest age bracket was those in the 40-44 year old category, with a rate of around 46 for every 100,000 people per year.

For women, it was the 30-34 year old age group, with a rate of around 16 per 100,000.

The document also shows the summer season is when most deaths occur.

Something that continually came up throughout the presentation was that suicide is not a straight forward issue and there are numerous complexities to consider.

Sean McLachlan is a speciality doctor within Public Health:

Throughout the presentation, members of the public attending passionately asked questions.

One of those was why there was only one political member in the room.

They questioned if government was so serious about suicide prevention, why there were no ministers or heads of department present.

In response, they were told they weren't invited - the reasoning behind that was unable to be disclosed due to civil servants being bound by the Code of Conduct.

Manx Radio contacted government for an official response.  Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan responded.

However, Christian Jones asked Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Tim Glover what he thought of being the only political member there:

For members of the public in the audience, do they feel confident the strategy will achieve the desired outcome?

Ross Bailey is Manx Care's Integrated Mental Health Services manager - he highlighted the stark reality that the Island is living in the past:

It's estimated for every suicide, 160 or more people are affected. Friends, family, police, medical staff - the list goes on.

David Higson is the founder of Bereaved Survivors of Suicide Isle of Man. He shared his first hand experience with suicide and the devastation it leaves behind:

If you've been affected by the contents of this story, support is available:

Government's Suicide Prevention Strategy can be found in full HERE.

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